Press Clips: Big Soda’s Possible Influence on Philly’s Elections

Will Big Soda Influence Philly’s 2019 Elections?

Philadelphia’s soda tax could be a significant factor in the city’s fast approaching 2019 mayoral and City Council elections, according to WHYY. Incumbents and challengers in those races are both collectively waiting to see if the beverage industry will form a super PAC to support candidates against the 1.5 cents per ounce tax on sugary drinks, enacted in 2016.

While Democratic mayoral candidate Alan Butkovitz has expressed hope for the beverage industry’s financial support, Laura Hitt, campaign spokesperson for incumbent mayor Jim Kenney, claimed Philadelphia does not need “greedy soda CEOs who want to take pre-K and public school funding away from our kids.”

This is another instance of the beverage industry stepping in to to lobby against a soda tax. The American Beverage Association also had a heavy financial influence on soda taxes in New Mexico and Illinois which eventually failed. The group has argued in favor of alternative sources of funding for those programs and claims the tax hurts local retailers and drives business out of the city.

Hot Coffee Might Be Healthier Than Cold Brew

A new study published by Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia showed that hot coffee has higher levels of antioxidants than cold brew, Health reports.

Some of the benefits of antioxidants include lower risk of health disease and diabetes. Though cold brew was previously believed to be less acidic than hot coffee and thus gentler on the stomach, this study found the pH levels of each to be within a similar range.

Niny Rao and Megan Fuller, the Thomas Jefferson University chemistry professors that co-authored the study, noted that more research is necessary to fully determine how brewing temperature and time influences coffee’s health effects.

Pedialyte’s Sparkling Rush Powder Aimed at Adults

USA Today reports that children’s beverage Pedialyte is aiming its new Sparkling Rush powder packs at adults as part of its effort to make products for all ages.

“If you look at the U.S. retail landscape, you see this tremendous growth in sparkling water. We saw an opportunity to operate in that space,” Chris Calamari, vice president of pediatric nutrition at Abbott, the maker of Pedialyte, told USA Today.

The rehydration drink, which was designed for children, has pivoted to the adult market after the product gained traction on social media as a hangover remedy. USA Today reports that according to Nielsen, between 2012 and mid-2015 adult consumption of Pedialyte increased by 57 percent. The brand has since embraced this popular usage in its marketing, though FDA regulations prohibit Pedialyte from advertising the product specifically as a hangover cure.

Vitaminwater Challenges Consumers To Go Smartphone Free

Vitaminwater is offering $100,000 to anyone who can go one full year without using their smartphone, Fortune reported. Those interested in participating in the contest can enter through Jan. 8 on Instagram or Twitter by making a post explaining why they want to go smartphone-free and what they would do with their free time using the hashtags #nophoneforayear and #contest.

It is unclear how exactly contestants’ phone abstinence will be verified, though the contest rules state a lie detector test will be involved. Those who only last half the year will still earn $10,000.

The contest is part of Vitaminwater’s “scroll-free life solutions” campaign, which the brand says is aimed at trying to break the cycle of smartphone obsession.

Non-alcoholic Cocktails on Trend for 2019

Non-alcoholic cocktails will be a significant bar trend in the new year, according to Forbes. As customers seek out tasty beverages that do not leave them buzzed, restaurants and bars are responding with more expansive drink menus featuring both creative non-alcoholic cocktails as well as seasonal lemonades and kombucha on tap.

“You can get of the flavor and experience and social encounter that is popular right now without any of the after effects,” Mat Snapp, beverage director for Fox Restaurant Concepts, told Forbes.

Snapp noted to Forbes that the trend of customers seeking non-alcoholic drinks was a logical step after the rise of clean eating restaurants.

How Wellness Drinks Took Over Instagram

Health and diet beverages are grabbing the eyes and dollars of consumers by marketing a lifestyle, according to Fast Company, as Instagram-focused startups like direct-to-consumer beverage platform Dirty Lemon and sparkling CBD drink Recess are gaining audiences through the feeling they create on social media.

“We weren’t relying on the merit of the product alone– we were focused on building this lifestyle,” Zak Normandin, Dirty Lemon’s founder, told Fast Company. “The power of the brand is actually more important than a product.”

Both brands cater to the aspirational lifestyles; Dirty Lemon has used its Instagram feed to situate its drinks to on-the-go urban professionals, while Recess has built its pastel-tinged social media presence around calmness and creativity.

These brands are taking to Instagram rather than traditional advertising channels for their products because they have a better chance of engaging their audience, though an inundation of ads and constantly changing consumer tastes have forced brands to reconsider their strategies. Dirty Lemon has their sights on physical retail space, while Recess is favoring quality over quantity in their social media posts.