We have all heard about Mayor Bloomberg’s administration’s latest plan in their ongoing battle against obesity. The new law, which might into effect as early as March 2013 after a series of public hearings, will effectively prohibit restaurants, delis, food carts and movie theaters from selling sodas in quantities exceeding 16oz. The ban will not apply to diet drinks or dairy-based beverages.
(By Laurent Berstecher)
The Bloomberg administration backed up this proposal by referring to the obesity epidemic in the country. According to public health statistics, New York City is not spared by the phenomenon, and 58% of adult New Yorkers are thought to be obese or overweight. Mayor Bloomberg declared Thursday on MSNBC that he felt “an obligation to warn [you] when things are not good for your health.” Bloomberg acknowledged that this plan would not be enough not solve the problem, but believes that it is a step in the right direction.
While the law has generated much controversy these past few days, the extent to which it will affect daily consumer habits, obesity rates, and businesses remains uncertain.
We also wonder do New Yorkers really drink that much soda? And to find out the answer, in a completely unofficial, unscientific capacity, we took to the streets and asked “average” New Yorker’s about their soda-inbibing habits.
“I never buy those big bottles,” says Alberto Cruz, a deli customer. “The soda goes flat before I can drink it all.” Cruz says that when he does buy soda, he usually gets a can. Steve Durkin, 31, is of the same opinion. “I can’t see anybody drinking that much soda at once,” he says.
Ace Deli owner Jenny Kim is equally skeptical about the impact of the ban. “We don’t sell a lot of 2 liter bottles. Most people get a can with their sandwich. The only time people buy these are for parties,” she says. Kim says the deli sells about six crates of large soda bottles a week, compared to forty cases of cans. “City people don’t buy that much soda,” says Kim. “They don’t have cars so they need a drink they can carry.”
Durgesh Gurund, an employee at Bono’s Café, shares similar impressions. “I have never sold one of these large bottles with a sandwich,” he says. “The only times we sell them is when the supermarket is closed and people are throwing a party.”
Gurund thinks that the ban may be bad for business, but doesn’t seem too worried. Although delis may lose some customers, large soda consumers do not represent a significant enough share of their revenues to pose any kind of threat to their business model.
While many have praised Mayor Bloomberg’s ongoing struggle for bringing healthier lifestyles to New York (such as the 2002 and 2011 smoking bans and the 2006 trans fat ban), his latest idea may very well be at risk of falling flat. While the plan is certainly prone to controversy, it may not be that successful at effectively reducing obesity rates.
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