Judge blocks New York City's sugary drink limit

By Lisa Fickenscher
CRAIN'S NEW YORK BUSINESS

Published: March 11, 2013 4:59 pm ET
Updated: March 11, 2013 5:13 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Government & Legislation, Legal, Beverage (juice, refrigerated), Beverage (juice, shelf stable), Beverage (soda, 2 liter), Beverage (soda, single serve), Packaging
Companies & Associations Coca-Cola Co.

NEW YORK — Honest Tea, the Bethesda, Md.-based beverage manufacturer, was ready for New York's new ban on large sugary drinks, which was supposed to go into effect Tuesday. But on Monday afternoon a judge invalidated the ban, leaving the issue up in the air just when companies are spending millions to comply.

The Coca-Cola Co. subsidiary began shipping slightly smaller bottles of its popular teas to New York City retailers last week. The bottles are less elegant than Honest Tea's original containers, which are rounded at the top, but more importantly, they contain 0.9 fewer ounces of tea. Honest Tea's original bottles, which continue to be sold outside of New York City, exceeded the city's regulation by exactly that amount. "We launched a 16-oz. bottle just for New York City, our largest market," said Seth Goldman, CEO and co-founder of the tea company.

The ban is meant to address the growing obesity problem in the city. The city had hoped to begin assessing fines for violations of the regulation starting on June 12, when a three-month grace period was slated to end. But the ruling by the judge throws the ban into doubt.

The judge's Monday ruling favored a beverage industry suit against the city, which some retailers and beverage makers were counting on to kill the rule. The city plans to appeal the judge's decision.

On the eve of the directive, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with the city's health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, announced new data supporting the premise that large, sugary drinks are a leading cause of obesity here. The data shows that nine of the top 10 neighborhoods with the highest number of overweight residents also had the highest sugary drink consumption.

"Obesity is killing more than 5,000 New Yorkers each year and demands bold steps to fight this crisis," said the mayor, in a statement.

Goldman, however, feels like collateral damage in a health campaign that is primarily aimed at soda manufacturers and excessively sweetened drinks. Honest Tea is generally perceived as a healthier choice and contains 70 calories, less than many of its competitors.

Nevertheless, the company is preparing to switch over to 16-oz. bottles nationwide next year. In order to do so, it will need to invest about $1 million to change the manufacturing mold and design for its bottles, Goldman said.

The new bottles in New York City are existing stock bottles that many beverages come in—not the distinctive design of Honest Tea's products outside of the city.

In the meantime, Goldman said "our distributor has to make sure to take out the right boxes out of its trucks in New York."

If the courts eventually rule in the city's favor, consumers may have to accept that they are paying the same price between $1.50 to $1.99 per bottle of Honest Tea—and getting less in return.


Comments

Judge blocks New York City's sugary drink limit

By Lisa Fickenscher
CRAIN'S NEW YORK BUSINESS

Published: March 11, 2013 4:59 pm ET
Updated: March 11, 2013 5:13 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

China's plastics industry making a shift

January 27, 2015 3:41 pm ET

China's plastic industry is in the midst of a “profound adjustment” from large-scale and high-speed growth to growth focused on quality,...    More

Image

UK legislators reject fracking moratorium

January 26, 2015 12:19 pm ET

UPDATED: Environmental campaigners turned their anger on the United Kingdom's Labour party Monday after a vote to impose a moratorium on fracking...    More

Image

Major packaging merger includes plastics operations

January 26, 2015 12:24 pm ET

A merger of packaging companies MeadWestvaco Corp. and Rock-Tenn Inc. will create a new company with nearly $16 billion in annual sales.    More

Image

MonoSol optimistic it can reach new markets with water soluble films

January 26, 2015 4:46 pm ET

MonoSol LLC — riding a wave of growth spurred on by the rapid adoption of water soluble detergent packets in recent years — is looking to ...    More

Image

Auto industry on the hunt for new lightweight materials

January 26, 2015 4:03 pm ET

The auto industry is focusing on lightweighting, and this is igniting a race to find new materials that can meet ever-changing performance needs of th...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events