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Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Advocacy

Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are beverages containing added sweeteners — such as sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and fruit juice concentrates — that contain calories but little or no nutrition and are linked to health problems like obesity and diabetes. These beverages include soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy and vitamin water drinks, sweetened iced tea, and lemonade. Bloomberg Philanthropies is working with research institutes, civil society, and governments in the United States and around the world to address the negative health effects of these products and curb their consumption through increased public awareness and small tax increases.

Positive results: In Mexico, a one-peso tax on SSBs, passed with the help of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ partners, reduced sales by nearly 10% after two years. Households that purchased the most drinks before the tax also exhibited the greatest decrease — a 16-20% reduction by the tax’s second year. This success is helping to spark a global movement, with more than 30 countries, cities, and regions now implementing similar measures.

More than 50 governments now have implemented sugary beverage taxes, including over 35 since we supported the passage and enactment of the landmark tax in Mexico in 2014

More than 50 governments now have implemented sugary beverage taxes, including over 35 since we supported the passage and enactment of the landmark tax in Mexico in 2014

In the U.S., Bloomberg Philanthropies has helped cities, including San Francisco and Philadelphia, to pass small taxes on sugary drinks. In Philadelphia, a study found that the city’s tax on sugary beverages, implemented in 2017 at a rate of 1.5 cents per ounce, reduced sales by 38%. The drop in sales meant that residents purchased and consumed roughly 83 million fewer cans of soda and other sugary beverages compared with the year before the tax began. The study, conducted at drugstores, supermarkets, and retail stores across the city, provided more evidence for the effectiveness of taxes in reducing sugary beverage consumption.

Top photo: Bloomberg Philanthropies is working in the United States and around the world to address the negative health effects of sugary beverages and curb their consumption. Photo credit: Shutterstock