Honest Opinions: First Seth, Now Barry’s Take on The Bloomberg Ban

Honest Tea Co-founder Barry Nalebuff

A few weeks after Honest Tea co-founder and TeaEO Seth Goldman penned an op-ed criticizing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on the on-premise sale of large containers of sugary drinks, Barry Nalebuff, the company’s other founding partner, offered his own critique in a recent post published on (ironically enough) Bloomberg.com.

Nalebuff, who is a professor of economics and strategy at Yale School of Management, stated that while he is in favor of taxes or a ban on “supersweet” beverages, NYC’s plan to regulate such drinks is misguided. The proposal calls for a ban on sugar sweetened drinks that have more than 25 calories per 8 oz. serving in containers larger than 16 ounces, and excludes diet drinks, drinks with half of their calories from dairy or dairy substitutes, and 100 percent juices.

Nalebuff argued that the city’s Board of Heath, which will make a ruling on the proposal this week, should be focusing on the amount of calories and sugar in all package sizes as opposed to containers that are larger than 16 oz. He cited the example of a 16 oz. can of SoBe No Fear which contains 260 calories and 70 grams of sugar and would not be affected by the ban, versus a 16.9 oz. bottle of Honest Tea Honey Green Tea that has 70 calories and 18 grams of sugar.

“The SoBe product has almost four times the sugar and calories, yet Honest Tea is the one being banned,” Nalebuff said.

You can read Nalebuff’s op-ed in its entirety here: