On January 23rd 2018, the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute hosted the New York City Sugary Sweetened Beverage (SSB) Roundtable, an event that explored current trends in SSB policy and opportunities for future action. Invited speakers summarized the research on sugary drink consumption, how it affects populations, and policy options for reducing consumption. The Roundtable, attended by about 100 people, marked the beginning of a collective effort to build a coalition to advance sugary drink policy in New York City. By discussing policy options, listening to community leaders, extracting lessons learned from past efforts, and developing strategies for overcoming obstacles, participants took the first steps towards advancing new sugary drink policies in New York City
Xavier Morales Executive Director of the Praxis Project provided the day’s keynote which focused on the successful efforts in Berkeley California to implement a sugary beverage tax and the coalition strategies that made that policy action possible. A subsequent panel featuring Jim Krieger, Founding Executive Director of Healthy Food America, Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Program Manager, Children’s Aid Society and Frances Fleming Milici, PhD, Research Associate, Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity focused on the various routes by which SSB policies have been implemented over the last decade and detailed the strengths and weaknesses inherent in the current strategies meant to address SSB consumption. The panel also discussed ways to measure success for SSB policy actions and possibilities for customizing the half dozen or so policy approaches utilized around the world to make them more feasible for New York City.