Soda Makers Scramble to Fill Void as Sales Drop
In much the same way their ancestors on the prairie had to check their guns at the door of the saloon, the 320 students in the Faulkton Area School District in tiny Faulkton, S.D., will be required to dispose of all carbonated soda containers before stepping into school buildings.
“We’re not trying to be the pop police or anything, but we felt like we were sending a mixed message by having a healthy lunch program and yet letting everyone walk around with sodas with a bunch of sugar in them,” said Joel Price, superintendent of the district.
Although schools have been removing sodas and other sugary drinks from vending machines for the last few years, the Faulkton district is one of the first in the country to institute a ban, according to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which works to reduce childhood obesity.
The school cafeteria will serve water, low-fat milk and fruit juices, and those beverages, as well as sports drinks and noncaffeinated diet sodas sold in vending machines, are all that will be available on school property. “Sure, there will be some opposition to it, but this is the way things are changing, like it or not,” said Kyle Ortmeier, the 17-year-old behind the school’s wellness campaign.
Cold, bubbly, sweet soda, long the American Champagne, is becoming product non grata in more places these days. Schools are removing sugary soft drinks from vending machines at a faster pace, and local governments from San Antonio to Boston are stepping up efforts to take them out of public facilities as the nation’s concerns about obesity and its costs grow.