Philly bev tax gets day in court, and great new resources


In this month’s newsletter: Philly soda tax gets its day in court as judges consider beverage industry suit ... Is 100% juice as harmful to kids as soda? The journal Pediatrics published an article led by our Brandon Auerbach looking into that question. ... Our new research brief shows soda consumption holding steady as that of other sugary drinks rises. ... Veterans of two of last year’s hard-fought, successful tax campaigns – in Philadelphia and Boulder – shared lessons in a webinar, and now we are pleased to share the recording. ... Cities of all sizes now have a way to estimate revenue from a sugary drinks tax, thanks to an online calculator developed by the Rudd Center in collaboration with Healthy Food America.

Philly soda tax gets its day in court as judges consider beverage industry suit

Four months into collecting its tax on sweetened beverages, the city of Philadelphia was in court Wednesday battling the beverage industry over whether it has the right to do so. Meanwhile, thousands of kids await pre-K slots and aging rec centers continue to crumble as the city holds off investing $300 million leveraged by the tax until the judges rule.

The hearing in Pittsburgh before the Commonwealth Court, a statewide appellate court responsible for cases involving local governments, lasted about an hour. (Even as the hearing was under way, Philly residents were having a field day razzing Pepsi for it’s ill-conceived Kendall Jenner ad and cheap-shot tactics against their soda tax.) Read more.

Is 100% juice as bad as soda? Read our journal article to find out


The question of whether 100% fruit juice causes poor health outcomes in children, such as weight gain, has been a subject of controversy. Our peer-reviewed article in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics wades in with a systematic review of the research on the topic.

On one hand, 100% juice contains vitamins and nutrients that many children lack, is often cheaper than whole fruit, and may help kids with limited access to healthy food meet their daily fruit requirements. On the other, leading nutrition experts have expressed concern that fruit juice contains amounts of sugar equal to or greater than those of sugary drinks like regular soda. Read more.

Is soda consumption headed up or down? Our new research brief tracks the trends

Healthy Food America today released Trends in Sugary Drinks Consumption in the US, 2005-2012, a research brief analyzing the four most recent waves of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), from 2005-2012. NHANES is the best available comprehensive source of national data on beverage consumption; 2012 is the most recent full data set available publicly, though CDC in January issued a partial update.  

Reports of Big Soda’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, based on Healthy Food America’s new research brief. Recent media stories have focused on soda consumption falling and bottle water rising to become the most popular beverage in America. While that may be cause for some celebration, focusing on the decline of soda oversimplifies how the sugary drink landscape has changed.  There are many more types of sugary drink products now on the market– and we still consume historically high quantities. Read more.

Webinar: Insights on soda tax victories from their political strategists

Are you working to pass a tax on sugary drinks in your community, considering whether to pursue one, or counseling others on how to get one adopted? Do you want to learn what it took to field and win tax campaigns?

This one-hour webinar, recorded March 23, 2017, is for you. Panelists shared lessons learned from both ballot measure and legislative campaigns. Jessie Bradley of Hilltop Public Solutions provided strategic guidance to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney as he shepherded a tax to pay for pre-K and other initiatives through City Council. Angelique Espinoza managed Boulder’s Yes on 2H campaign, winning strong voter approval of the largest sugary drink tax to date, two cents per ounce – overcoming a late kombucha uprising to achieve victory. Watch the video.

Great new tool helps cities and states estimate revenue from sugary drink taxes

For the first time, localities of all sizes will be able to estimate potential revenue from a sugary drinks tax under a range of scenarios, thanks to a newly upgraded online calculator.

The update to the Revenue Calculator for Sugary Drink Taxes was a collaborative effort by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at UConn, where it is housed, and Healthy Food America. To create revenue models for all 50 states and 40 cities, researchers used the most recent 2015 proprietary industry data on regional beverage sales. Cities range in size from huge -- like Los Angeles -- to smaller cities, such as Sunnyvale, CA, so that policymakers in those cities, as well as in cities of similar size, can ballpark what a "soda" tax would bring in. Read more.

Highlights From Our Media Updates

In case you missed them, here are some recent stories we found noteworthy:

Multnomah County [Portland, OR] voters may decide whether to tax soda, sugary beverages
(Oregon Live)

Debating the merits of a soda tax [Radio segment featuring HFA's Jim Krieger] (

Santa Fe soda tax to fund pre-K is a ‘win-win’ solution [Op-ed by Michael E. Vigil, retired state District Court judge]  (ABQ Journal)

Caught in the crossfire as Philadelphia soda tax war rages on (

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