The Bloomberg soda initiative: soda companies fight back, overtly and covertly
The hearing on Bloomberg’s soda volume limit takes place today. I’m traveling and sorry to miss it (I filed comments).
I shouldn’t be surprised but I am stunned by the intensity and depth of soda industry pushback on this, most of it going on and on about the virtues of personal choice, as if container size has nothing to do with the amount people eat. It does (see below).
In addition to what reporters have been reporting, here’s what I’ve seen personally:
- A phony “grassroots”petition campaign paid for by the soda industry with campaigners paid $30 per hour to collect signatures
- A mailing to my home asking me to protest
- Handout cards
- Subway posters
- Tee shirts
- And highly visible ads on trucks.
And then there’s yesterday’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal from Seth Goldman, the “TEA-EO” of Honest Tea:
I challenge the mayor and the New York City Board of Health to seriously consider the impediments that entrepreneurs already face in our efforts to offer lower-calorie drinks. Starting a business and building a challenger brand with modest resources is already a daunting task. The proposed ban would create additional barriers to beverage innovation.
Only one thing wrong with this. Mr. Goldman must have forgotten to mention that since March 2011, Honest Tea has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Coca-Cola.
Yes, I know the petition has gathered 75,000 signatures or so. The campaigners and signers should all know better. See this, for example: