September 13 2012
Today, the New York City Board of Health is expected to approve Mayor Bloomberg's ban on large-sized sugary drinks. The approval of this ban sends a clear message to New Yorkers: you can't be trusted to make good decision about your diet so your choices will simply be taken away. New Yorkers don't need a nanny telling them what they can and cannot eat. They need a Mayor who is focused on making their city a better and safer place to live.
Let’s consider this ban’s potential impact:
For consumers, they will find it more difficult to order the beverage size they choose. While convenience stores and grocery stores are exempt, restaurants, movie theaters and food trucks aren’t so lucky. Won’t it be fun carrying your bucket of popcorn and three regular sodas into the move theater? I wonder when theaters will be forced to retrofit their theater seats with multiple cup holders. And consumers should be prepared to make a stop at that 7-11 to pick up their drink-size of choice before continuing on to their favorite neighborhood diner for a meal.
But the burden of compliance really lies with the food industry—mostly made up of small businesses already having trouble staying afloat in this economy. The current and sustained economic slowdown is taking its toll on the restaurants industry. Large fast food chains like Chipotle Mexican Grill, McDonald's, and Yum! Brands all saw their shares fall last quarter and small, locally owned businesses are similarly struggling as people are choosing to eat more meals at home to save money.
Perhaps this is why a coalition of over 2,100 organizations and businesses (IWF included) as well as over 256,000 individuals have joined the group New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, a group fighting to defeat the Mayor’s foolish drink ban.
People may shrug their shoulders when they hear about the Mayor’s drink ban and convince themselves that these are necessary steps to reduce obesity in this country. We’ll see how they feel when these and the Mayor’s other food-related regulations drive businesses under, increase unemployment, and create more inconvenience for people simply looking to make their own decisions about what they eat and drink.