Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII) has criticized the proposal in the Programme for Government to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, with FDII Director Paul Kelly calling such taxes "ineffective, regressive in nature and purely fiscal with no health benefit."
"Irish consumers already pay more tax on soft drinks than almost any other Europeans, as VAT applies at 23% on all such products. Increasing the cost still further is just another stealth tax," Kelly commented.
He went on to cite a report recently published by global consultancy firm McKinsey that examined the efficacy of different measures that could be used to tackle the obesity problem, noting that tax rises didn’t even make it to the top ten.
"The focus should be on effective public health measures to reduce obesity rates, such as portion control and product recipe reformulation," he said.
He explained that in FDII’s view, the beverage industry’s measures to reformulate existing products and introduce new product variants has "positively impacted on the dietary intake of Irish consumers on a scale much greater than anything hypothesised by the introduction of a tax".
He concluded by saying that, "Moreover, these measures are working in practice and at no cost to consumers unlike costly and ineffective tax measures."
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.