Unfortunately the UK is no stranger to cases of childhood obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease and in a bid to combat this healthcare epidemic, the Sugar Tax has come into force. Drinks that contain a high level of sugar will now be taxed accordingly in order to encourage businesses to alter their recipes as well as deter consumers from choosing sugary beverages.
What is the Sugar Tax?
The Sugar Tax was first announced by former Chancellor George Osborne in his 2016 budget, and came into force in the UK on Friday 6th April 2018. Designed to charge manufacturers who produce high-sugar drinks more, the new tax is estimated to raise around £520 million which will be put to good use and help to fund sports groups, physical activities and even healthy breakfast clubs in primary schools.
The tax will not necessarily financially affect consumers, but you may find that a number of your favourite soft drinks will introduce a new recipe in order to avoid the levy. The tax itself will involve two bands, drinks that contain 5 to 8 grams of added sugar per 100ml which will result in a levy of 18p per litre, and drinks that contain 8 grams or more of added sugar per 100ml will be charged 24p per litre.
Drinks that will be exempted from the new tax will be pure fruit juice with naturally occurring sugar and beverages with a high milk content, as the calcium content has nutritional value. Soft drinks that are sugar-free such as Diet Coke will also be exempt.
The Sugar Tax will home in on fizzy drinks and energy drinks that contain excessive amounts of added sugar and are often targeted towards children.
What will the Sugar Tax plan to achieve?
The Sugar Tax aims to encourage manufacturers of mainly drinks to re-evaluate their recipes to reduce the amount of added sugar they use to produce some of our favourite soft drinks. Supported by health campaigner and celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, the new tax is hoped to be a huge success and step forward to a healthier population. However consumer feedback has been varied with a number of people arguing that the government shouldn’t interfere with personal choice.
A similar sugar tax is set to take place in France, Finland and Norway in relation to chocolate and confectionary.