Matt HealeyWednesday,27 February 2013

The Snap:

A while ago I wrote that the NRA argument against the assault weapons ban was bull. It did not hold up to any reasonable scrutiny, but it sounded good. We now get another BS argument from an industry group. This one is from the beverage industry on the proposed super-sized soda ban in NYC.

The Download:

The argument that makes no sense, but sounds good, is people will buy what they want and we should not have the government dictating our choices. This sounds really good. If people wanted smaller sizes, that is what they would buy. Clearly, that is not the case as they continue to buy larger sizes. The first problem with this argument is choice. When Coke first came out, the standard size was 6 oz. Over the years, the standard size has grown to 16 oz. If I want a smaller size of Coke, I cannot get it. It is hard to get even a 12 oz. can of Coke. They are simply not available. So to tell me that I am buying what I choose is BS. I am choosing what I want from the list of options that the beverage industry decided were okay. The industry has optimized the list not based on what I want, but on what makes the most money. So it is not the government restricting our choices, as much as it’s the beverage industry that is restricting our choices. This is evident because manufacturers have continued to push larger sizes which, incidentally, have a larger profit margin.

The second part of this argument that is BS is that we are making a conscious choice to consume more soda. The problem with this argument is that there have been tons of studies that show people unconsciously will consume more food if the unit size is large. Bigger plates at the buffet result in larger portions. Bigger containers result in more calories being consumed. The reason for this is tied to evolution. We evolved in a time of scarcity so we are hardwired to eat as much as we can when food is present because food was not plentiful. It now is. So it is not really our choice. The beverage industry knows this and they know that, as was mentioned before, larger sizes result in higher profits. So, the food industry is forcing us to play a fixed game and then explaining to us that it is our fault that we lost.

Hat Tips:

NRA argument, People will buy what they want, Restricting Choice, Profit Margins, Bigger plates, Bigger Containers, Image Credit: Flickr

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  1. […] I have written, I am a proponent of the NYC large soda ban. My basic point is that I would prefer to have the […]

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