Study says Berkeley soda sales down 9.6% due to tax

21 Avril, 2017, 03:16 | Author: Cyril Hebras
  • Sugar tax

The study, published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine, shows that a year after Berkeley's soda tax took effect in 2015, the city saw a almost 10 percent drop in purchases of sugary drinks and a almost 16 percent increase in sales of bottled water.

"Soda and other sugary drinks are the number one source of added sugar in the American diet, and are linked to increased risk of diabetes and other diseases, like heart and liver disease, obesity, and tooth decay", shows the Berkeley Soda Tax FAQ.

In the 15.5 million supermarket checkouts study, 67% of the amount of the tax was passed on to consumers across all SSBs, and the tax was fully passed through for sodas and energy drinks.

Silver said that before voters passed the 1-cent-per-fluid-ounce tax in 2014, researchers were not sure if the small additional cost to buy soda would be enough to make a difference in a prosperous city like Berkeley. Meanwhile, sales of healthier beverages such as water and milk increased, and so there was no negative impact on overall beverage sales, the study found. Consumer spending per transaction (average grocery bill) did not increase, nor did store revenue fall more in Berkeley, while SSB sales rose 6.9% in comparison cities'. Overall store revenues across the Bay Area fell during the study period, but they decreased less in Berkeley (-36 cents per transaction) compared with non-Berkeley stores (-54 cents per transaction).

The report was welcomed by officials in Philly where a 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax was enacted.

A paper in PLOS Medicine journal has data from the first U.S. city to introduce a sugary drinks tax.

In Berkeley, the money raised from this tax goes into the city's general fund, while Philadelphia uses the revenue to expand the availability of pre-kindergarten in the city.

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Dr. Tom Farley, the city health commissioner, noted that the tax could also lower the rate of deaths from diabetes in Philly.

"I am very encouraged by the study and I am optimistic that we will see a similar impact here, Farley said".

"These findings suggest that sugary drink taxes make health and economic sense". "In Philadelphia, we face a severe health crisis with our twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes, and sugary drinks are the biggest single contributor".

Self-reported consumption of sugary drinks fell, but not significantly so, among Berkeley residents as measured in grams (-19.8%; P=0.49) and in mean caloric intake (-13.3%; P=0.56).

The study looked at 15.5 million supermarket checkouts in the city, evaluated prices in 26 stores and surveyed 957 adult residents by phone.

Researchers believe soda taxes in those communities could have a greater impact than in Berkeley because per capita consumption of sweetened beverages is about three times lower in Berkeley than the country as a whole, Silver said.

Berkeley residents do tend to be higher income, better educated and drink less soda than residents of most other American cities. The city mayor appears determined to succeed in their battle against the beverage giant, as they plan to continue with their tax plan even after the Pepsi threat of job cuts in the city.

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