Discussion on Real Impact of Soda Refill Ban in France

Discussion on Real Impact of Soda Refill Ban in France

France recently announced strict ban on free refills of soft drinks at restaurants across the country. Medical experts have praised the action taken by French authorities in their resolve to deal with rising obesity levels in France. However, the real impact of this ban would be minimal as very less number of restaurants offer free refills of soda. This is mostly popular with few fast food chains operating in France. Compared to rest of Europe, soft drink consumption in France is already low. Still, the order will bring the issue of obesity in focus and will raise awareness among people about their sugar and calorie intake.

France introduced 10 percent tax on sugary drinks in 2014. Vending machines have been blocked from selling soft drinks in schools. They can only sell water. In schools, French fries can be served only once in a week.

Adult obesity in France currently stands at 15.3 percent, slightly lower than European average of 15.9 percent. In the United States, adult obesity has been recorded at 36.5 percent as per CDC data.

However, Bulletin Épidémiologique Hebdomadaire, the French medical journal, presents a different picture of obesity in France. The journal report published recently suggests that 57 percent of men and 41 percent of women in age group 30 to 60 years were either overweight or obese.

Overweight leads to many chronic health issues and it should be checked. The consumption of sugar, salt and saturated fats has increased with higher usage of packed food items. People should either limit their consumption of high calorie food or they should engage in regular physical exercise.

After being criticized by medical experts in many countries, major soft drink manufacturers including Coca Cola and PepsiCo have decided to reduce sugar content in their soft drinks. Both these companies control majority of soft drinks market and they sell their products all over the world under different brands. As Coca Cola and PepsiCo have deep pockets, they buy out competition. And, after buyout, the continue selling products under same brand name. This has led to complete control over soft drinks market with two major players.

These companies have recently introduced healthy choice for soft drinks and have also included some natural products in their range. Consumers will need to make informed choices and they should limit their consumption of sugary soft drinks. Health reports and studies conducted in the past have found high amount of sugar content in many juice brands as well.

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