Will the new ‘sugar tax’ make a difference?
The sugar tax on soft drinks will hit consumers from Friday but health campaigners have hailed the extent of reformulations that will see many brands escape the levy.
Manufacturers of soft drinks containing more than 5g of sugar per 100ml will pay a levy of 18p a litre to the Treasury, or 24p a litre if the sugar content is over 8g per 100ml, with the cost passed on to retailers and customers.
The Government and health campaigners hope the higher prices will put consumers off buying the most sugary drunks and lead to a significant decline in obesity.
Original Pepsi and Coca-Cola Classic are two examples of formulations that are remaining intact due to customer demand, and will therefore attract the levy, with the cost of a 330ml can of the original Coca-Cola, containing around seven teaspoons of sugar, likely to rise by around 8p plus VAT.
But more than 50% of manufacturers have changed their formulas to cut sugar, according to figures last month from the Treasury.
Tesco has reformulated all of its own-label soft drinks to come in below the threshold for the levy, claiming the changes have cut more than nine billion calories from customers’ diets every year, as have Morrisons, Asda and The Co-op.
Coca-Cola is also replacing its 1.75 litre Coke Classic bottle with a 1.5 litre bottle, which will limit the price rise, and increasing the size of its 1.75 litre Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, which are not subject to the tax, to 2 litres.
Ben Reynolds, deputy chief executive at the food and farming charity Sustain, said: “We championed a sugary drinks tax primarily to benefit children’s health, and already we have seen a rapid reaction from the soft drinks industry in reformulating products.
“Whilst this is only one way to tackle the problem, we hope that the higher price of sugary drinks and increased awareness leads to less consumption of sweet and sugary products.”
What do you think? Will the new sugar tax help combat obesity? Or simply lead to the food industry devising clever ways to avoid it? Share your views below!
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