Berkeley Soda Tax Cut Consumption By 10%, Boosting Efforts Of Anti-Soda Crusaders

Posted on April 19, 2017 | Forbes by Rob Waters

A two-year-old tax on soda in Berkeley, California, led to a 9.6% drop in sales of sugary beverages by Berkeley retailers and raised $1.5 million for health and nutrition programs in its first year of operation, according to a study released yesterday.

The results add momentum to the growing movement to brand soda as a bad actor that is fueling the rise of obesity, diabetes and heart disease and to use taxes as a weapon to reduce consumption, said James Krieger, executive director of Healthy Food America, a Seattle nonprofit that is helping coordinate anti-soda efforts.

Multiple studies in Berkeley and Mexico, which imposed a nationwide tax on soda and junk food in 2014, have now shown that the taxes do reduce consumption. The taxes also raise money that can fund health initiatives and help educate the public about the health risks posed by soda.

“It’s a trifecta,” Kreiger said. “Soda taxes have become a public policy tool that achieves three goals. It’s a win-win-win.”

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