Just a spoonful of sugar...

The UK Government's sugar tax on soft drinks came into force on Friday 6th April 2018, meaning we have recently joined a handful of other countries, including France and Norway, to introduce similar taxes.

However, what exactly is the sugar tax, and what does it mean for us all? Who might be the winners, or potential losers, in this sugary showdown?

Sugar Tax Research

With the exemption of pure fruit juices, most alcoholic drinks, milk-based drinks and small companies manufacturing less than one million litres per year, drinks companies must now pay between 18p and 24p for every litre of sugary drink they produce or import.

Brands such as Lucozade and Fanta for example, are already leading the way and have cut the sugar content on their drinks but Coca-Cola has not. Drinks with over 8g of sugar per 100ml will be taxed equivalent to 24p per litre, whereas drinks with sugar content between 5 – 8g per 100ml will be taxed a slightly lower rate at 18p per litre. Consumers are now likely to feel the pinch, as it has the potential to significantly increase the cost of popular sugary soft drinks.

Battle against the waistband...

Originally announced in George Osborne's March 2016 budget, the £520m levy on sugary soft drinks was seen as a way to combat child obesity, as it's claimed that children, teens and adults alike, are consuming three times the recommended level of sugar in their diets.

We recently conducted an online survey with over 2,000 of our Swift Insight panellists to understand more about what the everyday consumer knows about the sugar tax, and what they think the impacts of it may be. Awareness amongst our panellist was high, with 4 in 5 aware of the UK sugar tax on soft drinks, which was introduced in April.

When asked if they were in support of the Government's introduction of the sugar tax, only 22% were not in favour.

Of those reporting that they will now drink fewer high sugar soft drinks due to the tax, over half believe they will swap to sugar free or zero soft drink variants instead.

With the full impact of the sugar tax yet to be seen, over 60% of our panellists believe that its introduction will help raise awareness of advice in reducing sugar in our diets. This suggests the tax will have a positive impact to some extent, in tackling and raising awareness of obesity and diet issues in the UK.

Despite this, almost half of all panellists surveyed believe that we, as everyday consumers, will be affected the most by the introduction of the tax.