News | Published September 22 2019

Sugar tax causes sugar content in drinks to fall by 29 per cent

According to figures released by Public Health England, the sugar tax has led to sugar content in drinks falling by 29 per cent.

Despite this reduction in the percentage of sugar in drinks, the amount of sugar consumers buy has increased between 2015 and 2018.

The government initiative to persuade manufacturers to cut sugar of their own accord has not fared so well however, with the target of a reduction of 20 per cent still far off.

The sugar tax was introduced in April 2018 and charged manufacturers 24p per litre on drinks with a high sugar content and 18p per litre on drinks with a medium amount of sugar.

Since the levy was introduced, 100mls of sugary drinks now contain, on average, 28.8 per cent less sugar than in 2015.

Sales of this type of drink increased in the three years following 2015 but the dominant trend saw consumers switch to low or zero-sugar versions.

This 28.8 per cent decrease has led to a reduction of more than 30,000 tonnes of sugar being sold.

Despite this, the report found that the total among of sugar bought at supermarkets has increased by 20,000 tones to 743,000 in 2018.

Chief executive of Public Health England, Duncan Selbie, responded to the report by saying that this constituted “some encouraging progress.”

Similarly, Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Peadiatrics and Child Health, labelled the sugar level a “success story” but warned more needed to be done, aeguing that the food industry was “largely asleep at the wheel – it is time for a wake cup call.” 

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The Parliamentary Review

September 22 2019

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