A New York Times article has documented how Philadelphia’s tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) has affected the residents of the city. The article, published days before the city’s Democratic primary for mayor, speculates that the tax could be eliminated if the primary challengers were to beat Mayor Jim Kenney; although the mayor won the May 21, 2019, primary, the article compiles multiple negative perspectives of the tax and its effects. “In my district, 95 percent of the residents hate it,” one councilperson is quoted as saying. “The people who buy $7 lattes say the poor should be drinking water, but no one is considering the fact that my constituents live in food deserts with no access to fresh fruit and vegetables.”

A Philadelphia business owner told the Times that his company has lost customers because the tax has sent consumers to suburban grocery stores to purchase SSBs along with the rest of their groceries. One such consumer called the tax “ridiculous” and told the news outlet that she makes the trip to purchase SSBs outside of Philadelphia twice a month. Kenney has reportedly said that the solution to the complaint from the business owner is a statewide SSB tax, but the Times notes that “the prospects of such a measure appear dim.”

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.