The sugar tax on soft drinks has come into force within the UK. From the 6th of April, manufacturers will be charged a levy on any high sugar drinks they sell to the public in retail stores.
Campaigners believe it has already been a success as many firms have reduced the sugar contents of their best selling soft drinks in preparation for the sugar tax but the results will be seen when the impact is measurable. Leading brands such as Fanta and Lucozade have cut the sugar contents of drinks already, but other huge market leaders are yet to change.
The introduction of the levy means that the UK joins a small handful of nations including Mexico, France and Norway which already use similar taxes to reduce sugar content.
How Does The Sugar Tax Work?
The levy is being applied to all manufacturers but whether they pass it on by increasing prices for consumers is up to them. Drinks with more than 8g of sugar per 100ml will face a tax rate equivalent to 24p per litre. Any soft drinks containing 5-8g of sugar per 100ml will face a slightly lower tax rate of 18p per litre.
Any pure fruit juices, smoothies and milkshakes will not be charged, with fruit juices not containing added sugar and milkshakes for their calcium content.
University of Bedfordshire nutrition expert Dr Daniel Bailey claimed that while the levy is a “positive step” in tackling obesity, the consumer response is very uncertain. “The increase in tax placed on soft drinks will make products more expensive, but will this actually discourage people from buying them is a different question”.
By comparison, easier to understand nutritional information would aim to alter the purchasing habits of three-quarters of people, according to Mintel.
Who Consumes The Most Sugar?
All age groups are consuming more sugar than recommended in a daily diet, with teenagers being the worst offenders with a quarter of their sugar intake coming from soft drinks.
But it isn’t all about the intake of sugar being too high. Another aim of the campaign is to increase oral health in children, as currently, one child has a tooth removed every 10 minutes due to a preventable form of decay.
How Does Sugar Tax Benefit The Health Industry?
With more and more knowledge becoming available within the food and drinks sector, people are becoming more and more aware of what they consume, as well as how to keep healthy. With the older population growing within the nutritional supplement industry, as the focus turns to children and teenagers, parents are also becoming aware of the importance of childhood supplements such as calcium and vitamins for healthy growth.