Following last week's announcement by UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, that the British government will be introducing a new tax on sugary drinks, Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII) has urged the next government not to follow its lead, saying that a similar move in Ireland will cost consumers money and do nothing to improve public health.
FDII Director Paul Kelly said: “The unveiling of a sugar tax in the UK illustrates the fact that populism triumphs in the short term, even if the simple solution provided fails to deliver the desired outcome. The food and drink industry is committed to tackling the complex issue of obesity, but the proposal of an additional tax on soft drinks characterises industry as the root cause of the problem. This is simply not the case.
“It is deeply misleading to suggest that an additional tax would in any way address the growing and worrying problem of obesity. Real results will only come from measures that have been shown to work, like reformulation, consumer education and the promotion of physical activity."
Kelly added that there is currently "no evidence" to suggest a tax on soft drinks would successfully reduce obesity rates. "In fact, this kind of discriminatory tax has proven ineffective in several countries, including Denmark and Mexico.
“In the debate on a sugar tax, simple, verifiable facts are being ignored in favour of populist sound bites. The obesity problem will not be resolved by taxation or other forms of discriminatory legislation aimed at individual food categories," concluded Mr Kelly.
Meanwhile, in the UK, The Guardian reports that soft drink manufacturers are considering legal action on the grounds that the proposed tax discriminates against soft drinks, and does not apply to juices and milkshakes, which they argue are also high in sugar.
Britvic Ireland, Coca-Cola Ireland and Lucozade Ireland were unavailable for comment at the time of writing.
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Niall Swan