New Coalition Opposes Beverage and Food Taxes

WASHINGTON, July 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Americans Against Food Taxes, a new coalition of concerned individuals, working families, and small and large businesses, was unveiled today to stand up against new taxes on beverages and food, such as a tax on juice drinks and soda currently being considered by some in Congress. The coalition also launched its new Web site at

“A tax on juice drinks and soda would further squeeze hard-working families already struggling to pay their bills and keep their health coverage. With the economic downturn, there could not be a worse time to ask them to pay more for the simple pleasures they enjoy,” said Susan Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association.

“We all want to improve health care, but taxes don’t make anyone healthy. Education, exercise and balanced diets do that,” Neely said.

Americans Against Food Taxes has two primary aims: to prevent the enactment of regressive and discriminatory food taxes that will have no meaningful impact on improving health care but will have a negative impact on American families struggling in this economy; and to promote a healthy economy and healthy lifestyles by educating Americans about smart solutions that rely upon science, economic realities and common sense.

“Our customers and our businesses are already struggling to survive in this recession,” said Nelson A. Eusebio, executive director of the National Supermarket Association and regional co-chair of Americans Against Food Taxes. “We simply cannot afford more government regulation in the form of new taxes on foods and beverages sold by supermarkets and enjoyed by everyday Americans.”

Americans Against Food Taxes’ widespread membership is reflective of how beverage and food taxes will hurt a broad array of individuals, families and businesses across the country. It also represents concern about a slippery slope that would lead to taxing other everyday grocery items. The coalition already boasts more than 110 national and state organizations as members, as well as more than 20,000 individuals, and it is growing by the day.

“The last thing we should do is tax food in the midst of the deepest economic recession in over a generation. Food taxes are bad public policy because they disproportionately impact America’s working families,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO, Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Americans Against Food Taxes’ membership includes: the American Beverage Association, the National Supermarket Association, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, the Corn Refiners Association, the Food Marketing Institute, the International Dairy Foods Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Grocers Association, the National Restaurant Association, the Snack Food Association and the National Taxpayers Union, among others.

“On behalf of the nation’s nearly one million restaurants employing 13 million people, the National Restaurant Association is strongly opposed to a beverage tax that would only further reduce already slim profit-margins for the restaurant industry,” said Beth Johnson, executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “During these challenging economic times, Congress should be finding ways to alleviate tax burdens on Americans, rather than imposing new ones, such as the beverage tax.”

More than 20,000 individuals have already joined the coalition and signed a petition at the Americans Against Food Taxes Web site opposing new taxes on juice drinks and soda. Individuals interested in joining this effort and signing the petition can access it at the coalition’s Web site: The Web site also allows individuals and businesses to send an e-mail to their Members of Congress opposing these proposed taxes. More than 60,000 messages have been sent so far.

“The last thing American families need right now are higher grocery prices, and consumers should be concerned that when Congress targets one food product for a tax, other items in the grocery cart are at risk of being taxed to pay for the next thing. Families need some relief in their grocery bills right now, not a greater burden with higher taxes,” said Barbara McConnell, president, Food Industry Association Executives.

Americans Against Food Taxes supports health care reform, but taxing beverages and foods will not teach our kids how to live a healthy lifestyle. In fact, America’s beverage and food industry is doing its part to reduce childhood obesity and teach healthy lifestyles through innovation, nutrition education and encouraging physical activity. Through the national School Beverage Guidelines, America’s leading beverage companies are cutting calories in schools across the country. Under these guidelines, full-calorie soft drinks are being removed from schools. The guidelines provide for only bottled water, low-fat and non-fat milk and 100 percent juice in elementary and middle schools, with the addition of diet sodas, low-calorie teas and reduced-portion sports drinks in high schools. The guidelines have cut calories from beverages in schools by 58 percent in just two years.

Americans Against Food Taxes is a coalition of concerned citizens — responsible individuals, financially strapped families, small and large businesses in communities across the country — opposed to the Government’s proposed tax hike on food and beverages, including soda, juice drinks, and flavored milks. The coalition has twin primary aims: 1) To promote a healthy economy and healthy lifestyles by educating Americans about smart solutions that rely upon science, economic realities and common sense; and 2) To prevent the enactment of this regressive and discriminatory tax that will not teach our children how to have a healthy lifestyle, and will have no meaningful impact on child behavior or public health, but will have a negative impact on American families struggling in this economy.