STUMP » Articles » Soda Tax Gone Global: Is It Sweeps Week Yet? » 30 August 2017, 05:53

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

Soda Tax Gone Global: Is It Sweeps Week Yet?  


30 August 2017, 05:53

Okay, for review, here are my previous soda tax posts:


Also, someone sent me a pic — Dollar stores not so much dollar stores in Cook county:


Let’s see what I found:

Hmm, let me check the article.

bq.. His comments sit a little incongruously with the free biscuits, crisps and other snacks nestled alongside healthier options visible from the glass-walled office where he settles down to talk. Yet he dismisses any irony. “Do we have full-sugared drinks or only diet?” he asks his aides. “We have full sugar,” replies one. “But small cups,” adds another.

Bloomberg argues that there is consistency in his doctrine of free choice, which applies to his advocacy against unhealthy food just as much as to longer-standing efforts to tackle smoking. “The bottom line, I’ve always thought, is that it’s government’s job to explain what the risks are in certain kinds of behaviour and then you as an individual have a right to do it.”

Okay, Bloomie. Do you really think people don’t know about sugary drinks?

And if so, why aren’t you warning about fruit juice? Because it has just as much (if not more) sugar in it! People think fruit juice is healthy, and it’s really not much better than drinking Coke.

As with smoking, he has supported campaigns to impose additional taxes — notably on full-sugared drinks. “It gives [elected officials] a revenue source [and] there’s a lot of evidence when you raise the price, people use less of it.” But where tobacco kills, “pizza, if you use it in moderation, [has] nothing wrong with it”.

Here’s something about tobacco: if it kills people young and quickly, you don’t have to pay their pensions! Score!

But he is making a claim about soda consumption. Hmm. Let me see if I can find some stats on that.


April 2017 – Bottled Water Continues to Take the Fizz Out of Diet Soda

Diet sodas sold by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo posted steep volume declines in 2016, dragging down demand for the total carbonated soft drink category as consumers buy more bottled waters and other healthier beverages.
Total volume for carbonated soft drinks dipped 0.8% in 2016, a drop that was less severe than 2015’s 1.2% tumble and 2014’s 0.9% decline, according to a new report from industry tracker Beverage Digest. The steepest volume declines were for Diet Pepsi (down 9.2%) and Diet Coke (falling 4.3%), with both losing market share last year though each still rank among the ten most popular soft drinks sold in the U.S. Diet Mountain Dew’s volume dropped a more modest 0.1%.

Now, there are sodas other than Coke & Pepsi, but they’re the big companies.

And their biggest drops in 2016 were for diet drinks. The same was true for 2015.

Remind me about how the soda tax is supposed to deal with that? Or why?

So, given I’m not about to pay $1K to get stats for a blog post, I’ve decided to go mining through some of their older stuff, just to see if we can get at anything.

But first, a tweet:

That’s kinda nice.

So here’s something from March 2014: Soda Sales Slump for 9th Year, Says Beverage Digest

If obesity rates in the United States have indeed plateaued or leveled off, the gradual decline in soda consumption deserves at least some of the credit. Americans are turning away from sugary drinks (and diet sodas) in ever increasing numbers, as Beverage Digest has documented. We’re talking about nutritionally worthless products that provide nothing of value to the diet, but increase one’s risk of weight gain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.

While progress has been made in schools, legislators and health officials should take additional steps to drive consumption even further downward, with more aggressive education campaigns, labels warning of obesity and diabetes, limiting sugar content, taxation, and other policies.

Okay, so soda sales have been down for over a decade at this point. When did Bloomberg offer up his Big Gulp ban? It was in 2012.

Soda sales were already in a years-long slide by the time Bloomberg got around into making it an issue. He has done next to nothing on the matter, other than annoy people.

Of course, this may all be overblown.

Here’s a different estimate:

And a different one:

In 2013, the average American drank somewhere around 38.6 gallons of soda a year, that’s down from 42.1 gallons in 2008, according to IBIS world. Soda consumption peaked in 1998, when the average American drank about 54 gallons, according to the Associated Press.

So there’s the worldwide situation versus just the U.S.

I’m wondering how much of the soda consumption relates to the age structure of the population. Or workforce participation rates (I think work rates are probably really correlated with coffee consumption. Or work + school)

In any case, maybe soda sales are flat or maybe they’re decreasing — it’s why Coke & Pepsi have non-soda drinks in their portfolios, after all.

But if it’s been on a decline since 1998, then Bloomberg really has nothing to do with it.


Actually, lots more Philly tweets now.

I love me some parody accounts.


A few items:

People Are Still Traveling Outside Philly to Avoid Soda Tax, Study Finds

Here are five key takeaways from the report:

1. Sales of sweetened beverages inside the Philadelphia city core have decreased.

The report looked at five different drink categories—carbonated soft drinks, sweetened coffee and tea, sports drinks, energy drinks—and for each drink category, sales in the city core have gone down. Carbonated soft drinks, by far the largest sweetened beverage category, were down 55 percent.

2. Sales of sweetened beverages outside of city limits either increased or remained the same.


5. Sales of non-taxed juices have dropped.
Sales of natural refrigerated juices, which aren’t taxed, have declined, most likely because shoppers mistakenly believe they are being taxed, according to the report.

Through the end of June and since the start of January, Philadelphia has collected $39.3 million in revenue, which is about 15 percent short of the its initial projection of $46 million and just short of its revised revenue estimate of $39.7 million. City spokesman Mike Dunn told Philadelphia magazine that the fact that the city has raised nearly $46 million in seven months is strong evidence that the study’s findings are overstated. According to Dunn, a 55 percent decline in consumption inside city limits would not have generated that level of revenue.

He is correct about 55% drop in sales would not get it to 15% short. But that assumes all sorts of things.

First, what were the assumptions that went into the original projection of $46 million? An increase in sales? (unlikely) Decrease (at least some)?

And how would they know how much soda was sold in Philly in the first place? They may have sales tax receipts in general, or bottle deposit info, but it doesn’t mean they know how much soda was being bought.

But let’s assume that they had assumed level sales, and they had a good estimate of those sales. How could this lead to a 55% decrease in soda sales in the survey without shenanigans?

Easy — the surveys looked only at large retailers (grocery stores, Walmart), not mom-and-pop shops, McD’s, restaurants, etc. Even in the article, Dunn says that grocery stores are less than 50% of soda sales.

If they were 30% of soda sales, and had a 55% drop, and all others remained level — you’d end up with a 17.5% drop in sales overall (feel free to check my math).

So it is, indeed, possible.

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