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Sugar Tax: Is it a little too late?

sugar tax

Sugar Tax: Is it a little too late?

The Sugar tax came into effect on Friday, which has meant a huge shake up in the sugary drinks industry. From now on drinks, which contain 5g of sugar per 100ml, will have to pay 18p per litre and 24p per litre for drinks, which contain 8g of sugar per 100ml.

 

No doubt this has caused drinks companies to reformulate their products to either avoid this sugar tax altogether or to reduce the tax implications. Manufactures have turned to artificial sweeteners to try to replicate the taste of existing products, although many consumers have complained.

 

Official figures as to how the Industry has reacted:

Manufacturer Previous grams of sugar per 100ml Current grams of sugar per 100ml
Coca-Cola 10.6g 10.6g
Sprite 6.6g 3.3g
Ribena 10g 4.6g
Fanta 6.9g 4.6g
Lucozade 13g 4.5g
Pepsi 11g 11g

 

You can see from the above table that the ‘big players’ Coca-Cola and Pepsi have chosen not to alter their recipes, but what has this meant to the retail price? Well earlier in the year Coca-Cola cheekily announced that it would reduce their 1.75l bottle to a 1.5l bottle. Not only this, but they would also increase the price by 20p! This doesn’t sound as such a sweet deal does it?

 

Yes for all you sugar lovers out there, a sugar tax isn’t looking good. But the bigger picture is that the government want to reduce the stress and strain we have on our NHS. This sugar tax will hopefully deter some people from consuming as much sugar, cut it out all together or to switch to alternatives (lo han guo – hint, hint, nudge nudge). With alarming rates of type 2 diabetes on the horizon it has been a long time coming. Diabetes UK have stated that 12.3 million people are at an increased risk to this disease, imagine the implication this would have to our health system if this forecast became a reality.

 

Will the sugar tax actually work? Well it has so far in Mexico. In 2014 the Mexican government taxed just 4p per litre of sugary drinks. A study by the Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública in Mexico and the University of North Carolina reported sugary drink sales have since been slashed by 6% in Mexico.

 

Time will tell if a sugar tax clamp down will have a similar effect in the UK. It will also be interesting to see if in years to come this decision will help ease demand towards our health care system.

 

If you’re as fascinated about sugar as we are, check out our previous article: Sugar: What’s the big deal?

 

References:

Diabetes UK Statistics – https://www.diabetes.org.uk/professionals/position-statements-reports/statistics

Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública in Mexico and the University of North Carolina Study – https://www.bmj.com/content/352/bmj.h6704

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