New York City's ban on selling beverages bigger than 16 ounces that passed last month doesn't seem to face a major threat as it heads toward implementation in March. It's fat from popular with many New Yorkers, and the beverage industry and others certainly hate it, but the regulation has begun to assume the momentum of inevitability.
That's why the American Beverage Association, which represents Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple Group among other companies, has launched a last-ditch effort that now includes a lawsuit against the city that the organization, as promised. The suit argues that the unelected New York health board, which approved the ban spearheaded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, shouldn't be telling people how much soda to drink, according to CBS Radio. The suit also said that the rule "burdens consumers and unfairly harms small businesses."
No new arguments there, other than the ones the ABA rebuts on its Let's Clear It Up and New Yorkers for Beverage Choices websites. The hope of the association — which didn't return calls for comment by publication time — presumably is that a judicial ruling in this case will upset the best-laid plans of the mayor and bureaucrats as that branch of government often does. A shaming campaign and cries of violation of personal freedom seem to have fallen largely on deaf or unyielding ears.
In the meantime, the beverage and restaurant industries aren't about to fold their tents of opposition to the ban.
McDonald's CMO Neil Golden, in Orlando last week for the ANA's annual Masters of Marketing conference, addressed the increasing pressures on marketers, especially to kids, in this climate.
Golden stated that he and McDonald's still "advocate the idea that giving consumers choice and information is the right way to go," instead of the New York approach to dictate portion size and ban dispensing of sugary drinks of more than 16 ounces at city restaurants, movie theaters, and sports venues, whether that serving is bottled or fountain.
"Consumers will make the right decision for them," Golden said. "We fundamentally believe that consumers are smart individually and collectively and will do what's right for their interest." Mayor Bloomberg, it's safe to say, would agree to disagree.
Below, a look at the ABA's argument against Bloomberg's big soda prohibition on its Let's Clear It Up blog: