Sugary drink sales in Philadelphia fall 38% after city adopted soda tax

Sugary drink sales in Philadelphia fall 38% after city adopted soda tax

  • Sugary drink sales dropped 38% in Philadelphia after the city started taxing soda and other sweet beverages in 2017, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Philadelphia levied a tax of 1.5 cents per ounce on sweetened drinks beginning Jan. 1, 2017, following Berkeley, California, as the second city in the country to implement the levy.
  • Beverage sales inside Philadelphia’s city limits dropped by 51% but were partially offset by an increase in sales just outside the city, resulting in a net decrease in soda sales of 38% in the area, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found.
  • To measure how Philadelphia’s tax affected sales of sugary drinks, researchers analyzed scanner data from market research firm IRI during the year before the tax took effect and the year after.
  • Researchers tracked sales in 291 chain drugstores, grocery stores and mass merchandise stores.
  • The researchers analyzed sales in those retailers for a separate study, which is under review and has not yet been published.
  • “Many Philadelphians avoid the tax by shopping for beverages outside the city,” he said, pointing to a study published late last year showing sales decreases in a soda tax city were offset by people buying sugary drinks outside the city.