Soda Tax Appears to Be Working in Berkeley

With the obesity epidemic on the rise in the United States, some cities across the country have long been considering a Soda Tax to curb consumption of sugary beverages, but few have actually put it into effect. Berkeley, a city in California, had a soda tax approved by voters in November 2014 and implemented at the beginning of 2015. Researchers have been studying the sales of sugary beverages in the area since the law went into effect and they are pleased with the results so far. According to the results of the study which tracked sales of beverages across 26 stores in Berkeley and supermarkets in the area, sales of soda dropped 9% or more in just one year. Researchers also noted that the sales of water increased by 15 percent or more within that same period of time. Overall, researchers have been pleased with the results in Berkeley but were quick to note that the sale of sugary beverages in nearby neighborhoods rose almost 7 percent which indicates that people were willing to travel to get their desired beverages at a cheaper price. The Soda Tax was able to raise 2.5 million dollars for the city of Berkeley which has gone towards local programs. It will be interesting to see if other cities follow along implementing a Soda Tax. One thing for sure is that Soda Tax does change the behavior of consumers. It will be interesting to see if other cities follow Berkeley in the future.

Key Points:

  • 1Berkeley, California’s soda tax charges buyers a penny per ounce of the beverage, which retailers generally pass on to customers.
  • 2In just a few months the city of Berkeley collected over two million from the soda tax.
  • 3However, while soda sales are down in Berkeley, nearby cities show higher soda sales, suggesting Berkeley citizens are sneaking out for their sugar fix.

Researchers say sales of sodas are down, and the sales of water are up since the California city enacted its penny-per-ounce soda tax.

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