Coca-Cola announced plans to include the calories per serving on the front of nearly all global product packaging recently. Skeptics say it’s an attempt to get out ahead of a federal tax on soft drinks that Congress is considering. And while Coke claims the initiative is just another way it’s working with consumers to help manage their lifestyles, it’s possible the skeptics have it right.
Coke’s chief executive Muhtar Kent certainly didn’t hide his feelings over the proposed tax when asked about it recently. It’s “outrageous,” he told members of the Rotary Club of Atlanta in August. “I have never seen it work where a government tells people what to eat and what to drink. If it worked, the Soviet Union would still be around.”
I don’t know, I think it’s sweet of these legislators to take such a strong interest in helping me shed my baby weight. Of course, I could be opting out of the ice cream I’ve been enjoying during the movie nights we’ve been staging since the little one came along. But those proposing the soda tax seem to be saying I’m not responsible; the message I’m hearing is that they (including President Obama who told Men’s Health a soda tax is an “idea that we should be exploring”) think THEY are.
That’s why Coke’s front-of-pack calorie commitment likely won’t be enough to stave off a soda tax for long.
But it’s not Coke’s problem alone. Trans fats and high fructose corn syrup are feeling the heat, and there are rumblings about sodium intake now. I’m certain that my German chocolate ice cream is next. Where will it end? I don’t know. But I am beginning to agree with these regulation-minded individuals on one thing: I AM going to need an extra hand. But I’ll need it to save me from all these people working to save me from myself. BP