Press Clips: Sugary Drink Consumption Falls After Berkeley Enacts Soda Tax; Kobe Revealed as Juicero Investor

Berkeley-vs-Big-Soda-300x300Study: Berkeley Soda Tax Reduces Consumption of Sugary Drinks in Low-Income Neighborhoods

A recently published study examining the effects of Berkeley, Calif.’s first-in-the-nation tax on soda and other sugary drinks found that consumption of the beverages has fallen by over 21 percent in the city’s low-income neighborhoods.

A Wall Street Journal article detailed results from the study, which was published online in the American Journal of Public Health. The study results suggest that Berkeley’s penny-per-ounce tax, which was enacted in March, 2015, was a cause of reduced consumption. However, authors note that greater awareness about healthy eating and drinking could have played a factor. The study was based on comparisons of interviews of low-income Berkeley residents in 2014 and those from April to August of 2015. Results indicate that consumption of full-calorie soda fell by 26 percent, energy drinks by 29 percent, sports drinks by 36 percent and sweetened fruit drinks, coffee and tea dropped 13 percent. Meanwhile Berkeley’s consumption of bottled water or tap water rose 63 percent in the period.

Industry trade group the American Beverage Association, which has fought similar tax initiatives in New York City, Philadelphia and San Francisco, said that the study is flawed and that the tax has no measurable impact on consumption.

Mati-HealthyEnergy-Tropical-FrontGuayusa-Based Energy Drink Brand Lands New Investment

Mati Energy, which markets a line of guayusa-based energy drinks, recently added nearly $2.1 million in new funding, according to report published on WRAL TechWire. The funds were sourced from 19 investors, and the company has raised $4.3 million over the past two years.

Mati was founded by 26-year-old Tatiana Birgisson, a Duke University graduate who a won Google Demo Day pitch competition in 2015. The victory attracted initial investment from AOL co-founder Steve Case, among others. The brand is now available at several retail chains in the Southeast, including Whole Foods, Kroger and Costco. The company produces approximately 1 million cans per month.

Retired NBA Star Bryant Presses Forward With Investment in Juicero

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal unveiled some of the investments from former NBA star Kobe Bryant’s $100 million venture capital firm. The list includes Bryant’s investment in Juicero, the countertop cold-pressed juicing system launched by entrepreneur Doug Evans. The Journal offered no details about Bryant’s involvement in Juicero, which has also received investment from GV (formerly Google Ventures), Campbell Soup Company, and First Beverage Group and raised over $120 million.

13696917_1079254055488242_445847794_nHouston Coffee Roaster Pays Homage to Dead Rapper

Xela Coffee Roasters has launched a new cold brew coffee concentrate intended to pay homage to a local, deceased rapper, according to Eater Houston. Xela’s Screwston Cold Brew is named after DJ Screw, a Houston-based rapper who died from a codeine overdose in 2000. The concentrate is packaged in 12 oz. bottles that are commonly used for codeine syrup. Although Eater states that the cold brew does not contain any “psychoactive ingredients other than caffeine,” one has to wonder if Xela founders are out of their minds.