Published: Sun, April 08, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

Sugar tax: anti-obesity measure takes effect

Sugar tax: anti-obesity measure takes effect

The new measure, created to tackle the obesity crisis, will apply a levy of 18p a litre to drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml and 24p for those containing more than 8g per 100ml.

Since the sugar tax was announced in 2016, manufacturers have been faced with the decision to either reformulate their products to reduce sugar quantity or stick with their existing high-sugar recipes and face a levy.

The levy will be applied to manufacturers, and whether they will pass it on consumers or support the tax themselves is up to them.

Shortly after the 2016 announcement, Lucozade Ribena Suntory launched Lucozade Zero in the United Kingdom, citing "the nation's changing health agenda".

The money raised will go towards doubling the Primary Sports Premium, the creation of a Healthy Pupils Capital Fund to help schools upgrade their sports facilities, and give children access to top quality PE equipment.

However the British Soft Drinks Association said there was no evidence to suggest that a tax of this sort would have a meaningful impact on obesity.

A new tax on sugary soft drinks is now in force across the UK.

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The taxes applied will depend on the amount of added sugar each beverage has.

Lucozade, Irn-Bru and Ribena have all slashed their sugar content so their loyal customers don't bear the brunt of a price hike. The drinks most affected are of the fizzy kind such as Pepsi, Red Bull, 7Up and Coca-Cola.

In response to this, the supermarkets that have changed their recipes include Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and The Co-op.

It's also argued that the sugar tax fails to address the obesity crisis and the government should subsidise the cost of healthy food or improve health education. However, a FactCheck conducted by TheJournal.ie found that, while consumption might be reduced, the net effect on obesity rates was negligible.

Every day, 141 children have teeth extracted in hospital and some are as young as one year old.

More than 60,000 children had teeth extracted in hospital previous year - the equivalent to 141 operations a day. The price of a can of coke, which contains about seven teaspoons of sugar, has gone up by 8p.

According to one politician, British teenagers consume almost a bathtub of sugary drinks every year, or 234 cans using slightly more rational units.

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