Major Company Pulls Products From Philly Stores Over Soda Tax

PepsiCo is pulling 2-liters and 6-packs of their soda from the shelves in Philadelphia thanks to the city’s infamous soda tax.

WPVI-TV spoke to customers on Tuesday, who expressed that they don’t blame the company for taking the products out of the stores in response to the tax.

“I will not buy anything with it for it. I’m not buying no sodas, it’s ridiculous,” Roseann Fudala of Rhawnhurst told the station.

“If I’m out of the city, I will go and purchase soda just for a treat, but I won’t buy it in the city,” Christine Sokol of Fox Chase said.

Maria Koutsouradis of Bell’s Market in Rhawnhurst noted that the store received a letter from PepsiCo discussing the decision.

“Because of the Philly Beverage Tax, people are buying far fewer taxed beverages – particularly those in larger package sizes because they now cost so much more,” the letter read in part.

Koutsouradis explained the impact this is going to have on businesses in the city: “If a customer chose to go outside of the area, they would get their 12-pack and get it a lot less expensive, they would also pick up other items while they’re there.”

PepsiCo noted that the products won’t be gone from the city completely, but that they will offer them in smaller amounts than before.

Another major beverage company, Coca-Cola, is doing the same, but they claim that it has to do with consumer demand and not the soda tax.

“We’ve been offering smaller packages across the country – and here in Philadelphia – not because of cities passing beverage taxes, but because they’re what people want,” said Fran McGorry, president and general manager of Coca-Cola Refreshments’ Tri-State Metro Operating Unit, also known as “Philly Coke”. “But these steps also are helping our customers navigate the business challenges presented by this tax and helping make our products affordable for consumers.”

The city defended its stifling tax in response to PepsiCo’s move: “Pepsi’s reasoning for their layoffs and for no longer distributing certain beverage sizes is all self-reported by a company that is actively fighting to overturn the beverage tax in court.”

WPVI-TV reported: “PepsiCo says this move will take effect March 20th. Since we’ve passed that date, that means once these items sell out of stores in the city, they will not be restocked.”

Now, who could have seen this coming? How about anyone with a smidgen of common sense?