What's really behind the soda industry's 'choice' rhetoric

printer friendlyprinter friendly

Last week, following New York City's public hearing on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to cap soda sizes at 16 ounces, industry reps and other critics pushed back hard, saying the ban on large portions "restricts choice." The trouble is, those critics don't explain whose choice is really being restricted. And that's because the answer is soda companies'.

Soda companies have long enjoyed extensive freedom over what products they create, market and sell, regardless of the social cost of their choices. In the 1950s, they chose to bottle their sugary beverages in 6.5-ounce containers, touting them as an occasional treat. Today, soda companies choose to inflate portions to 20 ounces and beyond, pushing sales of these oversized drinks by making sure they are cheap and always within arms' reach. Soda companies choose to continually expand their product lines, creating sugar-infused teas and sugary sports drinks; they've even added sugar and calories to water, in spite of research that links sugar-laden beverages to chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease. They choose to market these unhealthy products disproportionately to low-income communities, communities of color, and youth. And now, in the face of growing public criticism, soda companies are choosing to borrow marketing tactics from the tobacco industry to improve their image and avoid government regulation.

So when soda industry spokespeople and executives argue that Bloomberg's proposal restricts choice, they need to be specific. It restricts industry's choice. It forces soda companies to be accountable to the public, rather than freely allowed to exploit the public. And it puts the public's health ahead of profits, taking a little power away from major corporations and putting it back in the hands of ordinary people.

The public's response to Bloomberg's proposal suggests this shift in power is exactly what people want. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, of the 38,000 written comments the department received regarding the proposal, 32,000 were in support. Looks like people are seeing soda companies' "choice" rhetoric for what it really is: a thinly veiled scare tactic.


advocacy (3) george lakoff (1) Proposition 29 (1) Tea Party (1) personal responsibility rhetoric (1) communication (2) sugary drinks (10) abortion (1) suicide nets (1) FCC (1) HPV vaccine (1) Let's Move (1) Joe Paterno (1) women's health (2) white house (1) reproductive justice (1) food industry (4) soda industry (4) Bill Cosby (1) paper tigers (1) race (1) new year's resolutions (1) news strategy (1) Rachel Grana (1) gender (1) front groups (1) mental health (2) corporate social responsibility (1) prison phone calls (1) obesity prevention (1) Michelle Obama (1) cosmetics (1) public health (65) emergency contraception (1) food deserts (1) soda warning labels (1) genital warts (1) summer camps (1) food (1) choice (1) election 2016 (1) diabetes (1) sexism (2) Proposition 47 (1) beverage industry (2) Donald Trump (2) cancer prevention (1) SB 1000 (1) Merck (1) gun control (2) Connecticut shooting (1) alcohol (5) San Francisco (3) inequities (1) beauty products (1) Twitter (1) cervical cancer (1) Citizens United (1) Bloomberg (3) childhood trauma (3) Sandy Hook (2) tobacco (5) health equity (10) news coverage (1) breastfeeding (3) Richmond (5) Amanda Fallin (1) sports drinks (1) industry appeals to choice (1) Measure O (1) Happy Meals (1) physical activity (1) racism (1) food swamps (1) Berkeley (2) sandusky (2) tobacco control (2) collaboration (1) Colorado (1) junk food marketing (3) water (1) online marketing (1) community health (1) default frame (1) Newtown (1) Big Tobacco (3) paula deen (1) public health policy (2) world water day (1) ssb (1) Telluride (1) autism (1) food access (1) Community Coalition Against Beverage Taxes (1) Johnson & Johnson (1) Sam Kass (1) institutional accountability (1) community violence (1) news analysis (2) childhood adversity (1) Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (2) SB 402 (1) regulation (2) food marketing (3) media (7) elephant triggers (1) Oglala Sioux (3) violence (1) media bites (1) Whiteclay (4) ACEs (2) news (2) violence prevention (8) seat belt laws (1) environmental health (1) soda (12) chronic disease (2) privilege (1) soda tax (11) social media (2) American Beverage Association (1) gatorade bolt game (1) PepsiCo (1) measure N (2) Pine Ridge reservation (1) Penn State (3) tobacco industry (2) health care (1) cigarette advertising (1) sexual health (1) sexual assault (1) food justice (1) sugar-sweetened beverages (2) Food Marketing Workgroup (1) weight of the nation (1) obesity (10) news monitoring (1) vaccines (1) Nickelodeon (1) cap the tap (1) Texas (1) education (1) media analysis (5) childhood obesity (1) suicide barrier (2) equity (3) healthy eating (1) sexual violence (2) language (6) personal responsibility (3) childhood obestiy conference (1) social math (1) digital marketing (2) youth (1) Golden Gate Bridge (2) filibuster (1) Big Soda (2) food environment (1) soda taxes (1) political correctness (1) social justice (1) Aurora (1) messaging (3) community safety (1) SSBs (1) Dora the Explorer (1) government intrusion (1) suicide prevention (2) marketing (1) campaign finance (1) product safety (1) Wendy Davis (1) target marketing (7) Twitter for advocacy (1) child sexual abuse (5) SB-5 (1) apha (2) diabetes prevention (1) naacp (1) El Monte (3) snap (1) Chile (1) junk food marketing to kids (2) sanitation (1) children's health (3) Catholic church (1) auto safety (1) tobacco tax (1) McDonald's (1) democracy (1) adverse childhood experiences (3) media advocacy (20) gun violence (1) framing (14) Marion Nestle (1) food and beverage marketing (3) junk food (2) structural racism (1) social change (1) journalism (1) california (1) Jerry Sandusky (3) Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (1) built environment (2) prison system (1) Oakland Unified School District (1) water security (1) childhood lead poisoning (1) public health data (1) liana winett (1) indoor smoking ban (1) nanny state (2) Coca-Cola (3) values (1) Big Food (2) cancer research (1) Gardasil (1) prevention (1) stigma (1)
  • Follow Us On Facebook
  • Follow Us On Twitter
  • Join Us On Youtube
  • BMSG RSS Feed

get e-alerts in your inbox: