Confessions of a soda fiend

NYC Mayor wants to ban large sodas but is that the best long-term solution?

By 
Lindsey Ramsey, Contributing Editor

Last week New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed one of his increasingly common ideas for bans in the form of restricting the size of the sodas, energy drinks, and presweetened teas that can be sold in restaurants, movie theaters and sports arenas to no larger than 16 fluid ounces. Now the mayor has good intentions. He wants the city to be healthier, and it is common knowledge that soda is a leading cause of empty calories that lead to obesity. Diet sodas, dairy-based drinks (milkshakes!), fruit juice drinks and alcoholic beverages would be exempt, and convenience stores could still sell their version of Big Gulps.

Even I—a self-confessed soda fiend—must admit that the idea of purchasing an actual small soda at the movie theater rather than something that resembles a popcorn bucket is very appealing. I absolutely am addicted to soda and though I’ve made various attempts to quit drinking it over the years, none has been overwhelmingly successful. Despite my understanding of where the mayor is coming from I don’t think this is the best solution in the long term.

As evidenced by my many attempts to quit drinking soda, the mayor and the city have already found a solution that works and it isn’t based on banning anything. When you are in an NYC subway and you come face to face with this, it’s tough to not think about what you are consuming when you drink a soda. These posters started showing up a few years ago and I must say, they’ve definitely made an impact on me. I think they are representative of what should be happening in the fight against obesity; education, not regulation. The same concept has worked well in the posting of calories at fast food restaurants. Customers are educated about the calories and then hopefully make a better choice. But forcing them to make a certain choice doesn’t seem to me to make the lesson stick as well. It’s unclear whether Bloomberg’s new crusade will actually come to fruition; even health crusader Michelle Obama was hesitant to endorse it, but I hope common sense will prevail and the city will realize they should just double its education efforts rather than another ultimately ineffective ban.

Couldn't resist adding this too. Jerry Seinfeld has a different approach to the soda ban here.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
induction cooking nuts

Thanks to prolific fast casuals such as Chipotle, guests have come to expect a certain level of customization in their dining options. For almost 50% of Generation Zers, customization is a deciding factor when purchasing food, according Technomic’s 2016 Generational Consumer Trend Report . Taking customization even further, operations are handing over even more control to customers with both build-your-own and cook-your-own stations.

Elder Hall’s My Kitchen station at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., offers a daily rotating ingredient bar with items such as stir-fry,...

Managing Your Business
business marketing concepts drawing

Sharp, smart marketing materials can make all the difference when it comes to drawing a big crowd for a menu launch or upcoming event. With more avenues to cover than ever and fewer resources to go around, operators offer their tips on making marketing work from start to finish.

Start with communication

Whether it’s an in-house marketing department, an outside agency or someone on staff wearing the marketing hat part-time, the right people need to be involved early and often. “Marketing doesn’t always have a seat at the table [like] it should in order to be truly effective,” says...

Menu Development
health food medicine stethoscope

For the last two years, Chris Studtmann has jockeyed between Northwestern University’s residential dining halls and athletic training tables in his role of executive chef, trying to meet the health and food preferences of both sides. Now, his team is taking best practices developed for the sports teams to the 20,000-plus student population, working with dietitians from the school’s contract company to better sync healthy menu choices with lifestyle needs.

Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report shows younger consumers are especially tuned in to functional foods that...

Ideas and Innovation
trail mix

We’ve added fueling stations in our units for our workers who didn’t have time to eat or just need a snack. We have areas set up with trail mix, crackers, cookies and water. It helps us avoid people feeling or getting ill, especially when we get closer to exam periods and student workers are studying and not taking the time to eat.

FSD Resources