NEW YORK - A Fox News Business report last week probed the effects that a New York City ban on large fountain drinks would have on retailers and consumers.
NACS spokesman Jeff Lenard commented that the intent of the bill does not factor in the contents of large fountain drinks.
"There are reports that say too many sugary beverages cause obesity, but the one thing that a lot of these reports leave out is ice," Lenard said. "As fountain drink portions get larger, so does the amount of ice. To presume there is 32 ounces of beverage in a 32-ounce cup is oversimplifying things."
Lenard also said while the proposal would exempt convenience stores, grocery stores and drug stores, those businesses forced to comply would incur additional expenses, which they would undoubtedly be forced to pass along to consumers.
"If you spend money to change your business, you€™re going to have to pass those costs onto the consumer. Some businesses will have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to redo counter space or purchase new cups and lids. I would hope that any new law takes into consideration that companies will have to make capital expenditures to comply," Lenard said.
Lenard said the shift would come at a cost for consumers: convenience. "Take construction workers for example," he said. "It€™s not convenient for them to make a couple of trips buying multiple beverages. When they come into a store, they are going to get everything they need for breakfast and lunch, and they€™re going to want to get those larger-sized drinks. Once the weather heats up, you€™re going to be seeing an even higher ratio of ice to liquid anyway."
The same inconvenience would apply to truckers, who aren€™t always able to pull over to buy drinks several times each shift.
"There are all kinds of uncertainties around the proposal,€™ Lenard said. "Obesity is an equation: you have you have more calories in than you have calories out, and passing a law restricting the sale of certain beverages is not necessarily solving the problem."
Stefan Friedman, spokesperson for the New York City Beverage Association, sharply criticized the proposal as one that will be ineffective.
"The city is not going to address the obesity issue by attacking soda because soda is not driving the obesity rates. In fact, as obesity continues to rise, CDC data shows that calories from sugar-sweetened beverages are a small and declining part of the American diet," Friedman said. "It€™s time for serious health professionals to move on and seek solutions that are going to actually curb obesity. These zealous proposals just distract from the hard work that needs to be done on this front."