Pepsi Removes 2-Liter Bottles, 6-Packs From Philly Shelves Over Soda Tax

Posted On: 3/23/2017

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TAGS: Philadelphia soda tax, PepsiCo, Gatorade, Lipton iced tea, sugary beverage tax, soda tax impact

PHILADELPHIA -- PepsiCo is removing 2-liter bottles and six-packs from Philadelphia store shelves and replacing them with 1-liter bottles in the face of sales that have been falling since the city's soda tax went into effect on Jan. 1.

The beverage giant said sales of larger-size packages of soda and other sugary drinks were down "more than 50%" in the city since the tax was imposed, according to a Consumerist report.

The 1.5¢-per-fl.oz. tax on sweetened and diet beverages -- including sodas and drinks like Pepsi's Gatorade and Lipton iced tea -- is applied at the distributor level, with most of the costs passed along to consumers.

If the full tax is passed on to customers, it amounts to $1.44 on a six pack of 16-fl.oz. bottles and $1 for a 2-liter bottle of soda.

A spokesperson for Pepsi said the change was due to the sugary beverage tax and that it wanted to offer "products and package sizes working families are more able to afford ... We believe this will give our retail and foodservice partners the best chance to succeed in this challenging environment and will minimize the chance of product going out-of-date."

Earlier this month, Pepsi cited the tax when announcing layoffs of 80 to 100 workers at distribution plants that serve the city.