Friday, November 24, 2006

Bigger Bottle Bill and Supermarkets

In today's NY Daily News the paper reports on what apparently is the governor-elect's support for expanding the bottle bill to include other containers. This expansion would raise havoc with the already space-challenged New York City food stores and create another unintended consequence to making the city's food stores more proactive when it comes to the promotion of healthier eating.

In order to promote healthier eating the city is already trying to figure out how to make the promotion of fruits and vegetables, the featuring of low-fat milk, and the favoring of diet cola over the regular brand, part of the normal marketing practices of inner city stores. These objectives are not always cost effective, and often take away rather than contribute to the bottom line.

What is clear is that the bottle bill is expensive for stores to manage and takes away from the already preciously tiny selling areas that city stores are forced to cope with. So it is counterproductive to promote healthier food products while at the same time adding more expensive regulations for the stores to cope with.

The same is true in the area of garbage collection, where the city council is dragging its feet over the proposal to introduce a pilot program for commercial food waste disposer. Opponents of such a plan bristle when it comes to "making tax payers pay for the garbage collection of the private sector."

Helping to make city food stores more productive should be seen as an incentive for grocers to partner with the city in other areas-such as in the promotion of healthier eating. Adding tax and regulatory burdens have the opposite effect. It is high time that policy makers understood that the promotion of healthier eating and the promotion of a healthier economic climate for food stores is mutually compatible.