Press Clips: DeLauro Proposes National Soda Tax

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT 3rd District) introduced a bill to Congress on Wednesday that would require a national tax on sugary beverages.

The bill, which she refers to as The SWEET Act, would tax one cent per 4.2 grams of caloric sweetener in sugar-sweetened beverages. While even DeLauro knows this proposal won’t pass anytime soon, she aims to keep the discussion going by following in the footsteps of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and California State Senator Bill Monning.

The New York Times calls her “brave and beloved,” and commends the bill and its nationwide potential.

“A national tax would be much tidier,” writes The Times. “Just eight months after it took effect, Mexico’s soda tax is starting to show positive results — consumption is down, at least — and we could expect a similar performance from DeLauro’s proposed bill.”

Coke Looks in the Mirror

coke bloombergThe Coca-Cola Co. made the latest cover of Bloomberg Businessweek and the showcase isn’t exactly flattering. It shows a bottle of Coke with a gut that brings motivational speaker Matt Foley to mind. The story analyzes Coke’s recognition that it has an obesity problem — it’s commonly villainized as the U.S. gets fatter. Through evolving marketing tactics and hacks at innovation, as seen by the acquisitions of Zico, Core Power and Honest Tea, among others, Coke is trying to grow its business while considering one key difference from the old model: it can’t be only a soda brand any longer.

Sandy Douglas, the recently-promoted president of Coca-Cola North America, has been tasked with the difficult job of progressing a company that, amid the health craze, is linked to obesity and taboo ingredients like caramel coloring and aspartame.

Bloomberg writes: “This is the beginning, [Douglas] says, of ‘what I might call the phased relaunch of Coca-Cola in the U.S.’”

Cokenitive Dissonance

Right on cue, a new study of adolescent rats found that beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may impede maze-learning, a good test of cognitive function, according to Forbes.

There’s still debate as to whether or not HFCS has similar effects on non-rat teenagers, but researchers say it could be looking that way.

“It’s no secret that refined carbohydrates, particularly when consumed in soft drinks and other beverages, can lead to metabolic disturbances,” study author Scott Kanoski of the University of Southern California said in the article. “However, our findings reveal that consuming sugar-sweetened drinks is also interfering with our brain’s ability to function normally and remember critical information about our environment, at least when consumed in excess before adulthood.”

Target Hires PepsiCo Executive as New CEO

brian cornell

Brian Cornell

 Target has hired Brian Cornell, the CEO of PepsiCo Americas Foods, as its next CEO, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The hire marks the first time that Target has hired someone on the outside to lead the company.

Before joining PepsiCo in March 2012, Cornell, 55, served as the president and CEO of Sam’s Club and has also worked with Safeway.

“I am honored and humbled to join Target as the first CEO hired from outside the company,” Cornell said in a statement. “I am committed to empowering this talented team to realize its full potential, lead change and strengthen the love guests have for this brand.”

A Tale of Two Coconut Waters

We all know Vita Coco and Zico were featured in The Times by now, but if you haven’t read it yet, we’re including the link here.

The feature retells the overlapping histories of the brands, including their toe-to-toe battle for shelf space and the category’s top spot. It studies the infancy of a once-sophomoric rivalry that has elevated into a major competition in what BevNET CEO John Craven says “will eventually be a $1 billion category.”

“The fighting quickly got ugly,” The Times writes. “It includes simple acts of retail vandalism, like tossing the competition’s signs in the garbage…Mr. Kirban sometimes placed a container of Zico beside a sleeping vagabond, took a photograph and then emailed it to Mr. Rampolla. And on more than a few occasions, the Zico sales force showed up outside Vita Coco’s offices, then near Union Square, and handed out free Zico samples.”