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.


prison phone calls (1) public health data (1) water (1) values (1) education (1) elephant triggers (1) food access (1) equity (3) Citizens United (1) communication (2) privilege (1) indoor smoking ban (1) democracy (1) regulation (2) sexual assault (1) Rachel Grana (1) SB 402 (1) framing (14) junk food marketing to kids (2) Sandy Hook (2) Merck (1) authentic voices (1) media analysis (5) built environment (2) sexual health (1) campaign finance (1) auto safety (1) Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (1) marketing (1) community health (1) paper tigers (1) Big Food (2) beauty products (1) Colorado (1) sexual violence (2) Happy Meals (1) Marion Nestle (1) election 2016 (1) Chile (1) media advocacy (21) Richmond (5) Catholic church (1) Community Coalition Against Beverage Taxes (1) sexism (2) food swamps (1) news (2) junk food (2) Sam Kass (1) childhood adversity (1) government intrusion (1) ssb (1) Joe Paterno (1) personal responsibility rhetoric (1) beverage industry (2) safety (1) news monitoring (1) child sexual abuse (5) paula deen (1) race (1) adverse childhood experiences (3) Telluride (1) structural racism (1) sandusky (2) Newtown (1) food (1) Black Lives Matter (1) community organizing (1) childhood obestiy conference (1) Pine Ridge reservation (1) choice (1) Dora the Explorer (1) health equity (10) HPV vaccine (1) news analysis (3) childhood obesity (1) soda tax (11) Oglala Sioux (3) food justice (1) news coverage (1) Aurora (1) seat belt laws (1) digital marketing (2) inequities (1) Johnson & Johnson (1) cancer research (1) Twitter (1) tobacco industry (2) social justice (1) food and beverage marketing (3) Bill Cosby (1) social math (1) women's health (2) Measure O (1) FCC (1) water security (1) stigma (1) abortion (1) gender (1) violence (2) Amanda Fallin (1) El Monte (3) San Francisco (3) Proposition 47 (1) advocacy (3) corporate social responsibility (1) reproductive justice (1) food environment (1) measure N (2) media (7) childhood lead poisoning (1) SB 1000 (1) Oakland Unified School District (1) alcohol (5) snap (1) world water day (1) sugar-sweetened beverages (2) ACEs (2) gatorade bolt game (1) Twitter for advocacy (1) chronic disease (2) sports drinks (1) suicide nets (1) food marketing (3) Bloomberg (3) mental health (2) weight of the nation (1) prison system (1) community violence (1) Coca-Cola (3) summer camps (1) McDonald's (1) SSBs (1) george lakoff (1) personal responsibility (3) target marketing (7) collaboration (1) social change (1) Donald Trump (2) healthy eating (1) Texas (1) food industry (4) cosmetics (1) emergency contraception (1) naacp (1) sanitation (1) Big Tobacco (3) American Beverage Association (1) Let's Move (1) Penn State (3) cancer prevention (1) food deserts (1) Wendy Davis (1) media bites (1) SB-5 (1) obesity (10) Whiteclay (4) sugary drinks (10) PepsiCo (1) messaging (3) Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (2) gun control (2) tobacco (5) Nickelodeon (1) public health policy (2) soda warning labels (1) filibuster (1) Golden Gate Bridge (2) cap the tap (1) genital warts (1) Food Marketing Workgroup (1) Jerry Sandusky (3) industry appeals to choice (1) autism (1) soda taxes (2) california (1) physical activity (1) childhood trauma (3) product safety (1) Tea Party (1) environmental health (1) junk food marketing (3) health care (1) suicide prevention (2) online marketing (1) violence prevention (8) racism (1) Gardasil (1) youth (1) suicide barrier (2) social media (2) liana winett (1) cigarette advertising (1) news strategy (1) breastfeeding (3) community safety (1) gun violence (1) obesity prevention (1) soda (12) Connecticut shooting (1) Berkeley (2) apha (2) diabetes prevention (1) language (6) white house (1) children's health (3) vaccines (1) tobacco control (2) diabetes (1) soda industry (4) front groups (1) community (1) default frame (1) nanny state (2) tobacco tax (1) Michelle Obama (1) Proposition 29 (1) journalism (1) Big Soda (2) public health (67) cervical cancer (1) institutional accountability (1) prevention (1) new year's resolutions (1) political correctness (1)
  • Follow Us On Facebook
  • Follow Us On Twitter
  • Join Us On Youtube
  • BMSG RSS Feed

get e-alerts in your inbox: