Soda Sales Are Going Flat in the Workplace

iStock / iStock

The days of office vending machines stocked with soft drinks may be coming to a close. According to The New York Times, a growing number of workplace storefronts are looking to eliminate sodas from their inventory, eliminating the option of a sugary drink for their employees. And while people can certainly get their fix anywhere else, early observations indicate that making soda unavailable from workplace vendors may help curb employee cravings 24 hours a day.

At the University of California, San Francisco, every campus food supplier—including branded locations like Subway—was told to remove soda from shelves, the Times reports. As a health sciences center, UCSF was curious to see if the lack of availability had any measurable health effects on its 24,000 employees. While they’re currently in the process of evaluating 214 blood samples collected to observe changes in metabolic activity, a preliminary survey of 2500 workers indicated that consumption was being reduced by roughly a quarter. For some workers, who reported drinking up to a liter (or roughly three cans) a day, that’s significant.

UCSF’s changes—which have also been adopted by more than 30 medical centers around the country—come as policymakers are attempting to dilute soda consumption by raising sales taxes. In Berkeley, California, the introduction of a higher tax has been associated with lower intake. The World Health Organization has argued that a 20 percent price hike could result in a corresponding 20 percent reduction in soft drink ingestion.

USCF internal medicine specialist Kirsten Bibbins-Domino has also spearheaded a statistical analysis based on Mexico's recent 10 percent excise tax on soda purchases. If the program continues, consumption may be reduced to the point where it could help prevent roughly half of new diabetes diagnoses in adults 35 to 44 over a 10-year period.

Those results could conceivably influence local legislation. Next week, California voters in San Francisco, Albany, and Oakland, and voters in Boulder, Colorado, will decide whether to implement soda taxes in their respective regions. Between escalating prices and limited workplace availability, soda fans might find their indulgence of choice getting harder and harder to swallow.

[h/t NY Times]