LATEST NEWS: Soft drinks tax slammed again after new data suggests soft drink sugar consumption is falling.

The former Chancellor, George Osborne, announced a soft drinks tax in his March Budget. It will mean big price rises on popular soft drinks. This decision appears to have been taken based on data from 2012 and does not factor in the significant action taken by companies to reduce sugar consumption from our products in the last four years.

The Government rightly wants to tackle obesity – but this tax isn’t the way to do it. This site gives you the facts – about the soft drinks industry, about the products millions of people enjoy, and evidence how similar taxes have failed elsewhere.

This site will be updated regularly with the latest information and evidence about the proposed tax – you can access our news section of the website here. If you want more information please contact us below.

UK Health Trends

Sugar consumption is falling but

obesity is still rising

The latest UK Government figures show that obesity rates continue to rise.

In that time total sugars in the diet have fallen by 15.4% and added sugar is down 21% since 2001. This equates to a reduction of 19g or just under 5 fewer teaspoons per person per day.

Between 1997-2011 sugar intake for adolescents fell 9.2% (81.7g down to 74.2g per day) and consumption by 4-10 year olds was down 17.3% (73.5g down to 60.8g per day).

EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland) with the lowest obesity levels – at least 5% lower than the UK – all consume more sugar per head than we do in the UK.

In the EU, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands are among the countries with the lowest levels of obesity yet are in the top half of countries for soft drinks purchasing (WHO Global Health Observatory 2014, Compass 2012) .

Austria has the lowest obesity prevalence in the EU but consumes more soft drinks than 20 of the other countries. For example, it purchases around 100ml per person per week more than France, but has almost 6% lower obesity. (WHO Global Health Observatory, 2014, Compass 2012)


Industry action to tackle obesity

Industry has undertaken positive initiatives to

reduce sugar intake and they’re having an impact

Soft drinks producers have helped consumers reduce their sugar intake from soft drinks by 16% since 2012

The rate of sugar reduction in soft drinks has increased year on year – 6.2% in 2015 alone (Kantar Worldpanel, 2016)

The Defra Family Food Survey shows that purchases of regular soft drinks fell by 32% between 2010 and 2014, whilst low calorie drinks purchases increased by more than a third.

This means that in 2014, for every regular drink sold, one diet (no/low sugar drink) was sold. In 2003, for every diet drink sold, three regular drinks were purchased.

Similarly, Kantar data shows that between 2012 and 2015, purchases of low and no calorie carbonated drinks increased by 6.7% while sales of regular carbonates are down by 7.8%. (Kantar Worldpanel, August 2015)

Soft drinks contribute less than 10% of overall sugar (8.8% – down from 10.1% in 2011) and just 2% of calories to the average UK diet (Kantar Worldpanel, 2016)

The Government has missed many of these encouraging figures as it has only been using 2012 data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS). The NDNS data omits the positive calorie and sugar reduction achievements made by soft drinks manufacturers over the last four years.

All Government and independent analysis since 2012 has shown significant reductions in sugar intake from soft drinks.


Future industry action

Soft drinks manufacturers have committed

to a further 20% calorie reduction by 2020

In 2015 the soft drinks industry became the only food and drink category with an ambitious plan to reduce calorie intake from its products by 20% by 2020.

We will reach this goal by building on our most successful efforts of recent years: New product development; creative recipe changes; ever wider availability of smaller pack sizes and increasing advertising spend on low and no calorie drinks.

Voluntary commitment not to advertise regular soft drinks to under 16s

As under 16s receive most advertising through social media and other online channels the soft drinks industry has voluntarily extended the current code for broadcasting to all of its advertising.

· No advertising to under 16s on social media and other online channels

· No advergames aimed at under 16s that feature regular soft drinks

· No static advertising within 100m limit of a school

· No advertising at or sponsoring sporting events and concerts aimed at unaccompanied under 16s

For more info:


Lessons from other countries

What the evidence says about the most

effective way to tackle obesity

McKinsey Global Institute’s 2014 study ‘Overcoming obesity’ considered 16 possible choices, including weight management programmes, parental education and media restrictions. The most impactful by far were portion size and reformulation of products (Public Health England concurs).

Taxes ranked fourth from bottom in terms of impact. McKinsey Report 2014

What’s happening in other countries where a tax has been introduced?

The tax in Mexico has only reduced average calorie consumption by 6 calories per person per day – in a diet of over 3,000 calories. (ANPRAC and Statistics National Institute (INEGI). UK modelling by proponents of such a tax suggest it would achieve only an average 4kcal reduction per person per day (

In 2013, Denmark scrapped its fat tax because of its economic impact and abandoned plans for a tax on sugar. Before the tax was scrapped, the Ministry of Taxation estimated that up to 6-7% of the soft drinks consumed in Denmark came from illegal activity. The Government had to increase expenditure of law enforcement, offsetting the revenue earned from soft drinks.

Following the implementation of a soft drinks tax in France in 2012 volumes decreased initially by 2%. However, sales in 2014 were less than 1% down compared to pre-tax levels in 2011.


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