New Orleans Kids Meal Ordinance: No Soda

January 16, 2023
A close up shot of coca cola can with black background

… a very simple step to educate and nudge our families towards a healthier option.

New Orleans City Council member Cyndi Nguyen explaining why she and other council members voted to establish a city ordinance that prevents kids’ meals from coming with soft drinks.

Why It Matters: New Orleans is the latest place to approve a measure preventing soft drinks to be included in kids' meals. The city ordinance, which went into effect on January 1st, requires restaurants and fast-food places to serve water, milk, or 100% fruit juice with kids' meals as an effort to reduce rates of childhood obesity and encourage healthier food and beverage options (though a soft drink can still be bought separately). Baltimore became the first major city prohibiting sugary drinks with kids' meals in 2018; At least 40 cities and four states now have similar ordinances in place.

Some Pushback: The restaurant and beverage industry has voiced concerns over the ordinance, stating that it will be a burden to food establishments amidst an already challenging time. “We appreciate the important issues of children’s health being raised. However, we ask that you will instead adopt a resolution at this time,” Danielle Leger, Director of Local Advocacy at the Louisiana Restaurant Association, told the New Orleans City Council.

Soft drinks barred from kids’ menus in New Orleans restaurants under this measure (New Orleans Public Radio)

by Jenna Lee,