UPDATE from the future.. it's 2023!
Big Sugar squashed this sugar tax. We don't hear about it anymore in the "news" cycle. It turned into a small, local soda tax to placate a few people.
No state currently has an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Instead, soda taxes are levied locally in Boulder, Colorado; the District of Columbia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Seattle, Washington; and four California cities: Albany, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco.
(This blog was written at the end of 2016)
It’s happening. The emphasis is on fizzy high sugar sodas and energy drinks which are considered empty calories and terrible daily habits by Australia, Denmark, France, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States.
Berkeley California was the first to pass a soda tax at 1 Cent per ounce in 2014. They have already touted community benefits from the tax.
In the UK they have two “bands” of tax, one for >5g per 100 milliliters, and one at >8g per 100 milliliters. 100 millilitres is ~3.3 ounces. That covers just about everybody making a beverage today. They are estimating £520m in tax revenue, which they plan to use to fund sport in primary schools.
The Philly tax is 1.5 Cents per ounce. Vitamin Water with 32g of sugar at 20 ounces is $0.30/bottle more expensive now. A Gatorade Grape 8-pack with 96g of sugar gets hit with a $2.40 tax making it $8.39 now, instead of the regular price of $5.99. That’s a big hit. Still some discussion on who pays for this hit, the consumer or the retailer.
Voters in Boulder, Colorado and San Francisco, Oakland and Albany in California also just approved soda taxes this November. Colorado set the tax at 2 Cents per ounce, and California at 1 Cent per ounce.
The World Health Organization has been advocating for taxes that help promote healthier diets to slow the spread of obesity and diabetes, but no one believes a sugar tax will be a magic fix. More education with easy to understand dietary guidelines are needed. Let’s get rid of the aspirational Coca-Cola commercials during the Olympics.
I originally thought that the recent “war on Kelloggs” was about sugar, #DumpKelloggs makes sense with their brands Rice Krispies; Frosted Flakes; Eggos; Pop Tarts; Cheez Its; Fruit Loops; Apple Jacks; Raisin Bran; Pringles, etc. But it’s a much much deeper political fight, see the link below for more details.
It’s turning ugly for sugar, much like it did for tobacco and corn. And replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols can create new problems that we don’t fully understand today.
What should you do?
Keep your natural sugar intake down on a daily basis, and more importantly keep your daily calories at a manageable level for your body and activity levels. Moderation is key, pounding a Venti caramel macchiato at 43g of sugar and then following that up with a Monster Energy drink at 54g of sugar isn’t the best thing to do day in and day out.