We’re all quite familiar with the proposed beverage ban that was unveiled this spring. While this is isolated to the New York City area now, those in the industry are closely watching the developments. The Department of Health in New York will vote on the proposal in September but until then, “Everyone is watching this as a benchmark law,” according to Joe Pawlak, vice president at the food industry research firm Technomic who was quoted in a recent USA Today article.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue personally, the impact to the food and beverage industry has the potential to be significant. In a time when carbonated beverage volumes are declining, revenues could be further jeopardized as a result. Profit margins on fountain drinks are traditionally substantial for those that pour carbonated beverages and iced teas, the products that would be primarily affected by the regulation. The official denotation for the 16-ounce cap is on sweetened drinks that have more than 25 calories per eight ounces. Establishments such as restaurants, movie theaters, sports stadiums and street carts are all on alert.
The volatile topic has created much dispute and subsequent marketing efforts from both the New York City government and anti-ban organizations that have banded together to fight the plan. Both large companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi and mom-and-pop food sellers are joining forces with the American Beverage Association and others to make their voices heard. From social media to radio to airplane banners, petitions and subway ads, both sides are fighting to take a stand for their position.
The food and beverage landscape is changing continually. From mandatory nutritional information on menus to this potential restriction on selling large sugary beverages, the industry is evolving with political and cultural trends. Time will tell on the specific effects but for now, all eyes will be watching what happens in New York in the coming months.
Photo credit: Ben Ostrowsky