Earlier today, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter was in Washington, DC to give the keynote address at the first ever National Soda Summit. In his remarks, Mayor Nutter called for a discriminatory tax on sugar-sweetened beverages that he says will improve public health.
Ironically, just yesterday, Nutter was the ribbon cutter at the opening of a Shake Shack burger joint back in Philadelphia.
Wait - what? How does that make sense?
Singling out soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages on one hand and celebrating burgers and milkshakes on the other? Don't get us wrong, we enjoy all of the above in moderation, but this looks like an attack on one product that is playing a small and declining role in the American diet. And definitely not the needed comprehensive approach to the complex issue of obesity.
Unfortunately, Nutter is not the only one. We've seen this a lot lately.
Contrast this with what America’s leading beverage companies are delivering - meaningful policies and programs. Our member companies have voluntarily placed calorie information on the front of every bottle, can and pack they produce, making it easier for you to choose the beverage that’s right for you. And, with our national School Beverage Guidelines, we removed full-calorie soft drinks from all schools and replaced them with more lower-calorie, smaller-portion choices. Through the guidelines, our companies cut total beverage calories shipped to schools by a dramatic 88 percent since 2004.
We're not just talking about this - we're actually delivering initiatives that will have a lasting positive impact in communities nationwide. And that's more than most can say for short-sighted, discriminatory proposals that are clearly not being backed up with real world action.