Study: Bloomberg soda ban would backfire; UC-San Diego researchers say ‘people buy more soda when offered packs of smaller sizes than if buying single large drink’

“Restricting soda servings may induce people to buy more soda than when offered larger sized drinks.”

The media release is below.

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People buy more soda when offered packs of smaller sizes than if buying single large drink

Restricting soda servings may induce people to buy more soda than when offered larger sized drinks

People buy larger amounts of soda when purchasing packs of smaller drinks than when offered single servings of different sized drinks, according to research published April 10 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Brent M. Wilson and colleagues from the University of California, San Diego.

The researchers tested the effects of limiting sugary drink sizes on people’s soda consumption by offering them three kinds of menus. One menu offered 16 , 24 or 32 ounce sized individual drinks, a second gave them the choices of a 16 oz. drink, or bundles of two 12 ounce drinks or two 16 ounce drinks, and a third menu offered only individual 16 oz. drinks for sale. When participants made choices from these menus as they would in a fast food restaurant, people bought more soda from the menu with packs of 12 oz. or 16 oz. drinks than they did when offered individual sodas of different sizes. Based on the choices participants made, total business revenues were also higher when menus included packs of drinks rather than only small sized drinks.

The study concludes that when drink sizes are limited, businesses may have a strong incentive to offer packs of several small drinks rather than only individual servings. The authors suggest that restricting larger servings of sugary drinks in efforts to moderate may thus have the unintended outcome of increasing soda consumption rather than reducing it.

“Our research shows the New York City ban on large-sized drinks may have unintended consequences that policy makers need to consider. Sugary drinks are a major source of business revenue, and businesses will adjust their menus in order to maximize profits,” says Wilson.

4 thoughts on “Study: Bloomberg soda ban would backfire; UC-San Diego researchers say ‘people buy more soda when offered packs of smaller sizes than if buying single large drink’”

  1. But, but, BUT, Bloomers is DOING FOR THE CHILDREN!!! So, it does NOT matter what the outcomes is.

  2. Done for control, not health concerns. He gets lot’s of press, controls the populace and distracts them from crashing failures of things that really matter, like the abysmal state of NYC public education.

  3. Something else to note. Most fast food places let you fill up yourself nowadays. When I get a large I usually fill once, when I get a medium I fill 2 – 3 times. I can see how I could be getting more sugar with the smaller cup. Of course I usually get diet.

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