United Kingdom rolls out sugar tax in battle against obesity

  • United Kingdom rolls out sugar tax in battle against obesity

United Kingdom rolls out sugar tax in battle against obesity

The UK government has today introduced a sugar tax on soft drinks, meaning drink manufacturers will have to pay a levy for each high-sugar soft drink they sell in the country.

Tesco, Co-op, and Asda have all opted to do this - although they will still be stocking branded soft-drinks, which may still carry the levy.

From now on, drinks with a sugar content higher than 5g per 100ml will be taxed 18p ($0.25) per liter, and drinks with 8g or more will be taxed 24p ($0.34).

"Customer experience is more important than ever, so aim to offer innovative soft drinks, lower in sugar but perfectly served, to stand out from the crowd".

"We were reformulating our drinks to reduce their sugar content for many years before the tax was announced, we've done 34 reformulations since 2005, and there is ample data which shows that the sugar people consume from soft drinks has declined significantly over the last decade and continues to do so".

Any alcohol substitute, such as de-alcoholised wine or beer, as well as any infant formula or baby food product, will also not be subject to the levy.

Public health experts from the Chief Medical Officer to the British Heart Foundation have argued that sugar-sweetened soft drinks are a major source of sugar for children and teenagers and that sugar intake drives obesity.

One 250ml Red Bull energy drink contains 27g of sugar.

After months of discussion and debate, the sugar tax has now come into force in the UK.

Higher obesity rates equate to higher rates of conditions such as diabetes, but also to generally poorer mental well-being and to higher rates of other serious conditions - for example, many may not be aware 5% of cancers are related to obesity. They have been steadily making their drinks healthier to combat obesity - sugar free and diet versions have been around for some time.

But this hasn't gone down well with some consumers, with reports of shoppers stockpiling Irn Bru ahead of the recipe change.

The sugar content of Sprite was cut by a whopping 50% previous year.

The price of sugary soft drinks is set to increase from 6 April as the government's soft drinks levy comes into effect.

However, 75% of consumers say that clear nutritional information on product packaging would encourage them to cut down on unhealthy food and drink, rising to 81% of 25 to 34-year-olds.