No sugar-coating: the UK attacks sweet drinks

3:25 PM, 14 April 2016

sugary drinks

Proposed tax misses the sweet spot

UK Chancellor George Osborne's initiative to tax sugar sweetened beverages certainly raises some interesting questions. By imposing the tax, has the chancellor undermined what had become a collaborative approach between the government and industry to address childhood obesity.

And beyond the headlines, will it change anything?

What will the sugar tax lead to?

Ian Twinn, director of public affairs, ISBA commented:

"While there's a chance the sugar tax could lead to soft-drinks companies cutting adspend in order to keep down prices for consumers, this is unlikely. Gaining market share is so important to manufacturers, which won't want to see competitors getting ahead of them, especially if the market is sugar-free. The real danger is that governments get tempted to use tax changes for gesture politics but still have no impact on the issue targeted. A sugar tax will not make us thinner. We all know obesity is a problem, but businesses will see this tax as a negative step when the government has recognised that we should be working together to solve it."

Sarah Todd, chief executive of Geometry Global UK, added:

"There's no question that tastes change and regulation could ensue, but it doesn't change the game -- a sugar tax will not stop purchase, especially for brands with high loyalty.

Winning businesses are anticipating this by changing their model from brand owner to channel and portfolio strategist. They are looking at retail as the strongest medium to connect with customers. It's not a question of reducing advertising budgets, more a case of a change in communication -- from what clients want to say about their brand to what people want to say about them. It's our job to inspire people to buy well."

What's your take on the UK sugar tax? Is it simply a diversion to distract from other aspects of Osborne's budget? All feedback, queries, and opinions are welcomed to

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