Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is known for trying to force New Yorkers to be healthy with smoking bans and calls for the outlaw of artificially trans fatty foods, is now on the attack against oversized sweetened beverages. He’d like to do away with the sales of sugary drinks bigger than 16 ounces at restaurants, food carts, arenas, and movie theaters. You would still be able to buy these ginormous drinks at grocery stores and convenience stores.
Some question whether this sort of thing will actually make an impact on the obesity epidemic in the U.S. But when you have people ordering Mountain Dew/orange juice mixed drinks for breakfast, you’ve got to do something.
Responding to the controversy over this proposal, the Mayor said, via video, at the All Things D conference, “This is something we think we have the legal authority to do. Obesity is a local problem for us, and that’s why we’ve addressed it.”
At the same time, he will be supporting National Doughnut Day, which is tomorrow. Doughnuts every day please.
As MSNBC points out, people were already drinking less soda, in part because of the perception that it’s unhealthy. Beyond the increased affinity for pre-packaged iced tea and energy drinks, soda contains high-fructose corn syrup, which is having some reputation problems of its own.
“The current consumer preference is toward all-natural food supports beverages without artificial additives such as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and artificial diet sweeteners,” says research firm Mintel.
Nonetheless, the beverage industry felt it was necessary to respond. “The people of New York City are much smarter than the New York City Health Department believes. We are transparent with our consumers,” said Coca-Cola in a statement. The company also called New Yorkers attractive and good at sports, because flattery will get you everywhere. (We’re lying about that last part.)
We’ll see if the ban passes. In the meantime, we have Entenmann’s. The company will unveil a doughnut that’s a foot in diameter in NYC tomorrow along with a letter from the Mayor.
“The message is that we will do what we need in our official capacity to protect the health of New Yorkers,” said Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs in response to a question about mixed messages. “The celebratory events, the naming days in honor of individuals or items, or frivolities that are fun and [bring] exceptional joy are quite distinct from a public health agenda.” That’s not logical.
*Update: Mayor Bloomberg also likes mayonnaise-y BLT sandwiches. Seriously, hysterical.