Honest Tea’s Goldman: NYC Ban Sets Arbitrary Limits

Calling New York City’s proposed ban on large containers of sugar sweetened drinks an “arbitrary” idea that “complicates the practical realities of commerce,” Honest Tea founder and TeaEO Seth Goldman expressed his frustration with Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s plan in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal today.

Born out of a growing concern that large servings of sugary drinks are a leading cause of obesity, the proposed NYC ban would prevent the sale of drinks containing more than 25 calories per 8 oz. serving in containers larger than 16 ounces, specifically in places under the jurisdiction of the city’s Department of Health, including restaurants, delis, and movie theaters. Goldman pointed out that Honest Tea’s top-selling product is its organic Honey Green Tea, which has 35 calories per 8 oz. serving and is packaged in a 16.9 oz. bottle. Under the proposed ban, the beverage could not be sold in food-service establishments, which Goldman calls unfair considering that the only reason Honest Tea initially used a 16.9 oz.  bottle was “because it is a standard size that our bottle supplier had in stock at the time.”

Goldman said that the company has since invested several hundred thousand dollars for the 16.9 oz. bottle mold, and that ideas to reduce the liquid in the bottle and alter its labeling would be complicated and expensive. Moreover, Goldman said that the ban would create barriers to innovation for entrepreneurial brands.

You can read the full version of Goldman’s op-ed here.