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Drinks Health News Products Sweets

U.S.’s First Sugar Tax Is Making Communities Healthier Without Losing Money

In 2014, Berkeley, California voted in Measure D, a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on the distribution of sugary beverages that was aimed at cutting soda and sweetened drinks’ sales down drastically. The aim was that it would improve health and nutrition in the area.

In a pleasant surprise, the sugar tax did way more than just that, according to a new study published in PLOS Medicine. Researchers analyzed over fifteen million checkout transactions across grocery stores in Berkeley and the surrounding areas to find that not only did sugary drink consumption fall by nearly 10%, but the sales of healthier beverages, like milk and tea, have increased in response. Bottled water sales shot up an impressive 15% in that time span.

The tax also raised over $1.4 million for local child nutrition and community health programs and decreased the demand for diet and energy drinks by 9%, meaning consumers in the city have become a lot more health conscious as a result of the sugar tax. Meanwhile, small business owners were not affected by the tax, as no measurable decrease in sales was detected.

The one downside to the tax is that sweetened soft drink sales in the surrounding sales did increase by seven percent, implying that some Berkeley residents who did want their Coke and Pepsi traveled outside of the city to avoid the tax.

Still, overall, the Berkeley tax has been extremely beneficial to the city. It’s made the city more health-conscious while keeping small businesses thriving and putting more money into city health and nutrition programs.

Sugar taxes have begun to pop up in several other cities too, and while not all of the effects in those areas have been measured, there’s clear evidence to show what works and what doesn’t. In Philadelphia, for example, sugar taxes of 1.5 cents per ounce have led to the loss of over 300 jobs after retailers reported a whopping 50 percent loss in soft beverage sales with nowhere near enough recovery in other areas to maintain jobs.

To detail, it could be that 1.5 cents per ounce is too high of a tax for a community to function. Many other Bay Area cities, including San Francisco and Albany, along with Cook County in Illinois have passed 1-cent-per-ounce taxes in recent months similar to those of Berkeley and haven’t reported any negative repercussions as of now.

Boulder, Colorado passed a much higher tax at 2 cents per ounce, but it’s still unclear as to whether that tax will be successful. Based on what happened in Philly and Berkeley, however, Boulder’s tax may be more harmful than helpful to the local community, while the other U.S. cities that followed Berkeley’s model are likely to have more success.

Based on the findings of the study, Berkeley’s sugar tax could be the blueprint model the rest of the nation follows when it comes to taxing sugar and cutting sweetened soft beverage sales since they’ve been able to do so without small businesses or the local community losing money. Considering sugar has been shown to be a leading cause factor of obesity (no matter what Coca-Cola says), that’s critical for a nation fighting a massive obesity crisis.

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Products

Jones Soda Somehow Made A ‘Birthday Cake’ Flavored Soda

Jones-Birthday-Cake-Soda

This year, Jones Soda is turning 20. In celebration of this, Brand Eating reports the popular soda brand is releasing a limited edition Birthday Cake-flavored soda for the momentous occasion.

Wonder if they’ll be a noticeable birthday cake flavor or if we’ll just taste sugar? Either way, cool.

Thanks for a healthier approach, this new beverage will feature 5 percent less sugar than the original recipe. This goes for pretty much all the staple Jones Can Sugar Soda.

Patrons can get their hands on the birthday cake soda starting in February. They’ll be available in select locations. You can also purchase the beverage online. A pack of 12 bottles goes for $26 before tax.

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Hit-Or-Miss

The Surprising Origin Story Of The Iconic Coca-Cola Bottle

Coke-First-Bottle

More than 100 years ago, the first bottle of Coca-Cola was created. At the time, soda companies all had similar bottle designs and the beverage company wanted to find a way to stand out from its competitors. Coke announced that they would be holding a competition for anyone who could create a distinct bottle that would be recognized by all, Quartz reports.

Original-Coke-Bottle-Patent

The winning design came from a team from the Root Glass Company, based in Indiana. Quartz spoke to Coca-Cola’s director of heritage communications who says that the group drew inspiration from a cocoa pod with “an elongated shape and distinct ribs.”

Legend has it, they went to the library trying to learn more about the word coca. Instead, they found cocoa and decided to just have fun with the concept. While the designers knew they beverage had nothing to do with cocoa, they thought the cocoa pod was interesting enough to base their designs of the, now iconic, contour bottle off of.

The bottle won the team $500 ($11,700 after adjusted for inflation). The rest is history.

Photo: Facebook + The National Archives

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Hit-Or-Miss

CRYSTAL PEPSI Might Be Making A Return After Disappearing For 20 Years

Crystal-Pepsi-Return

Back in the early ’90s, Pepsi introduced the world to a new type of caffiene-free soda they called Crystal Pepsi. The “clear soda” was met with pretty positive reviews, though sadly, it quickly disappeared from the spotlight. There’s hope yet, reports GrubStreet.

When competitive eater LA Beast asked Pepsi if they ever planned on bringing back Crystal Pepsi, the beverage company responded with a “get ready.”

According to Pepsi, fans will be happy with what’s in store for the brand. Devoted fans of Crystal Pepsi have since launched a campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #BringBackCrystalPepsi. They have also created a petition on change.org with over 34,000 signatures.

Turns out, while Crystal Pepsi has been gone for more than two decades, it has not been forgotten. No word yet on when Pepsi plans to bring back the Crystal drink, but it definitely looks like it’s in the works.

 

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Hit-Or-Miss

A Look At Mountain Dew’s Foray Into Craft Soda: DewShine

Mountain-Dewshine

Expect to see a “shinier” side of Mountain Dew on grocer shelves sometime this month. It was announced that the new craft-variant of Mountain Dew, called “DewShine,” will soon be making a national release.

Keeping in line with the recent emergence of craft soda variants of popular soft drinks, Mountain Dew is the next to unveil their newest contender. The soda is a clear, citrus-flavored beverage that’s made with real cane sugar, not the regular high-fructose corn syrup you find in regular soft drinks.

DewShine takes its name from moonshine alcohol, and is also said to be inspired by the soda company’s home-brewed mountain roots.

The DewShine bottles will be available in packs of four, each bottle holding 12 ounces.

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Fast Food

Burger King Exiles Sodas From Kids Menus

BK-Soda-Kids

There was a time when kids could shower themselves in refillable fast food soda. It appears that time is soon coming to an end. At least at Burger King.

The fast food chain has reportedly removed the soda option from kids’ menus. Youngsters won’t be able to find sodas included with their Burger King Kids Meals any longer as milk and Capri Suns become the more prominent options.

Most fast food establishments have been facing fire from parents wanting healthier choices for their kids. A representative from the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest said they had been lobbying for BK to change the menu for nearly two years, according to USA Today.

While soft drinks are still available on the main BK menu, kids won’t be able to get their hands on them as easily. Soda imagery in Kids’ Meals has been completely scrapped from Burger King advertisements and promotions.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Coca Cola, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper Unite to Cut Down Sugar in Soft Drinks, Bill Clinton Approves

Soda-Calories

Three of the world’s largest soda companies have joined together to combat diabetes and heart disease. Coca Cola, Pepsi Co. and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group have all pledged to reduce the sugar content in their drinks. The goal is to cut the sugar in soft drinks by 20 percent within the next decade.

The New York Times reported that the three soda companies pledged this admirable goal Tuesday at the recent Clinton Global Initiative. The brands are working to increase the presence of low- to zero-calorie soft drinks. They’re also going to focus on consumer awareness of calories they are drinking. The decade-long crusade to beat high sugar intake will make use of reducing soda servings, packaging redesigns, vending machine distributions and promotions through different mediums.

It’s good to see that multimillion dollar companies care about people’s health, even if it looks like they could possibly lose some money because of this endeavor. While it could be argued that diet or low-calorie drinks are no healthier than their sugar-filled counterparts, we’re all for the smaller cola portions.

H/T New York Times

 

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Hit-Or-Miss

Cult Soda Surge Made Available on Amazon, Sells out Immediately

Surge-Cover

Arguably the most popular soda of our childhoods has made a swift return. Yessir, if Coca-Cola ever had a child with Mountain Dew, it was Surge. While the citrus-flavored soda didn’t sell as well as most of the other carbonated beverages stocked on shelves at the time, its absence has definitely made many hearts grow fonder.

Dark times fell upon the soda world in 2003 when the soft drink was discontinued only seven years after it made its public debut. The Surge Movement, which was created to bring back Surge years ago, has more than 130K fans of the cult beverage. Coca-Cola has noticed this and made strides to quietly bring back the niche product. Upon being released on Amazon, the cult soda was sold out almost immediately. Another batch was posted and then also quickly sold out.

Surge’s brief, but messianic return can be considered a sign that the soda will be here to stay. According to Coca-Cola, this comeback will be a test to see if it’s worth restocking store shelves with the product. Yes, Coca-Cola. It most definitely is.

Never have we seen a product get such a near perfect review on Amazon. That’s the love of Surge for you.

H/T Huffpost Taste