Foodservice Equipment Reports

NYC Says No To Supersized Sodas…

The city that banned trans fats and public smoking has made it official: The New York City Board of Health has approved a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, street carts and other venues. The ban, the first restriction of its kind in the country, is aimed at lowering the obesity rate in the nation’s largest city.

The ban applies only to operations that receive inspection grades from the health department, which includes movie theaters and stadium concession stands. It exempts c-stores, including 7-Eleven and its king-size Big Gulp drinks, as well as vending machines and some newsstands.

The restrictions won’t affect fruit juices, dairy-based drinks such as milkshakes or alcoholic beverages; no-calorie diet sodas would not be affected, but establishments with self-service beverage fountains would not be allowed to stock cups larger than 16 oz.

The National Restaurant Association opposed the ban, citing data that the majority of consumers purchase sugar-sweetened beverages from c-stores and grocery stores.

The ban creates operational challenges for restaurant operators. A restaurant may not offer self-service cups above 16 oz. even if the customer intends to fill it with a sugar-free drink. The only way an operator would be able to provide such a drink to customers is through the drive-through window where self-serve is not available.

The measure will take effect on March 12—unless it is blocked by a judge. The soft-drink industry, which campaigned strongly against the measure, has vowed to continue fighting it, possibly in the courts.