JAN/FEB 2018 13
ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS
The best thing companies can
do in the short term is to ensure
all staff understand the legislation.
Assuming that those producers subject to
a levy pass on the cost to their customers,
staff who can explain the introduction of
the levy and why the price has increased
will be invaluable in mitigating possible
consumer frustration when they see a
price differentiation between drinks that
previously cost the same amount.
Well-trained staff will be invaluable in
reassuring consumers that the caterer
is not responsible for the price increases.
Where a sugar levy has been introduced
in other countries, drinks subject to the
levy have seen a sales decline, whereas
those exempt from the levy have seen
a sales increase. We believe that the
introduction of the levy will accelerate
the growth of low and no calorie soft
drinks in the UK and caterers should stock
a range of soft drinks that cater for this
already burgeoning area of growth.
Thanks to Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s
on-going reformulation efforts to meet
consumer demand for lower-calorie,
great tasting drinks, none of our Lucozade
Energy, Lucozade Sport, Ribena or
Orangina drinks will contain more than
4.5g of total sugar per 100ml by March
2018. All of these brands will be entirely
exempt from the soft drinks industry levy.
- Fraser McIntosh, senior
Lucozade Ribena Suntory
Sugar consumption is a key factor in child
tooth decay, with tooth extractions being
the main reason for hospital admissions for
children aged 5-9 years. Tooth extractions for
under 18s cost the NHS £35million per year.
Public health experts have identified
sugar-sweetened beverages as a major
factor in the over-consumption of sugar,
and a cause of childhood obesity.
The Chief Medical Officer has said that
reducing sugar content and portion sizes
is a public health priority.
How will the new
The levy is already working. Since we
announced the measure last March several
major companies have accelerated their
reformulation work to cut sugar ahead of
introduction. These include Tesco, Lucozade-
Ribena-Suntory, AG Barr and Nicholls.
We now expect more than 40% of all drinks
that would otherwise have been in-scope to
have been reformulated by the introduction
of the levy. This means that the forecast
revenues for the levy are lower, but the
government will continue
to fund the Department
for Education with
the £1billion we
from the levy until
Childhood obesity is a national problem.
The UK currently has one of the highest overall
obesity rates amongst developed countries,
and in England a third of children are obese or
overweight when they leave primary school.
Obesity has costs both to individuals and
to society. The evidence shows that 80% of
children who are obese in their early teens will
go on to become obese adults - with a greater
risk of heart disease, cancers and diabetes.
The estimated indirect cost to the UK
economy from obesity is between £27billion
and £46billion, in addition to the direct cost
to the NHS that spends over £6billion a year
on obesity-related treatments.
Obesity is also one of the major
risk factors for type 2 diabetes, which
accounts for spending of £8.8billion
a year, almost 9% of the NHS budget.
Radnor Hills have been reducing
sugar in our products for a
number of years now but in 2018 all of
our soft drinks ranges will contain less
than 5% sugar. The sugar tax has only
affected our adult premium pressé
range Heartsease Farm to which the
new sugar-reduced recipes will launch
in January 2018 using only natural
ingredients and featuring a newly
designed label and sloping neck bottle
to accompany the launch. The new
recipes will be mainly sweetened by
a 100% natural plant-based sweetener
that contains almost no calories.
“My concern with the sugar tax is the
consumer might not be getting the correct
message. There are lots of soft drinks on
the market that contain naturally occurring
sugars from fruit including our Heartsease
Farm range as we use real fruit juice in the
recipes. We are finding that some retailers
can be scared to list products that contain
any sugar at all! I would encourage
people to look at the labels and check
to see if it’s a naturally occurring sugar
from the fruit juice or if it’s added sugar.”
- Chris Sanders,
sales director, Radnor Hills
This is the cost to
the NHS for tooth
the year 2019/20. The Devolved
Administrations will also receive the full
funding originally announced.
What is the aim of
The evidence from salt reformulation shows
that industry behaviour can drive public
health outcomes. But we need
the soft drinks industry to act now and
The new levy is a strong lever for driving
producer behavioural change. Producers
were given two years from the time of the
announcement until the levy comes in,
and many of them are using this time to
reformulate their product mix and reduce
the sugar in soft drinks, as intended.
Producers will pay less – or nothing at all
- if they: (1) reduce the amount of added
sugar in soft drinks, (2) reduce portion sizes
for sugary drinks, and (3) move consumers
towards healthier choices (e.g. through
marketing). It’s up to them to act. They don’t
have to pass the charge onto consumers.
Childhood obesity: what’s
the scale of the problem?