Today is the day that the government's sugar tax goes into effect, increasing the price of any drink that includes more than five grams of added sugar per 100ml. Currently this doesn't affect natural sugar in fruit juice (because it wasn't added later) or drinks that are milk-based due to the high calcium content. That might change, though, with the government warning milkshakes might be thrown into the mix.
Speaking to the London Evening Standard, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Robert Jenvrik says that the tax has already proven successful with soft drink makers cutting the amount of sugar in any products that are aimed at children.
“What the soft drinks levy has proved is that manufacturers can significantly reduce their sugar content without ruining the taste and experience that consumers enjoy.
The fact they have done this before the tax has even come into force shows it is a success and we want manufacturers of other products to follow their lead.”
Jenvrik also confirmed that the government is already looking to sugary milk-based drinks, like milkshakes, and may start taxing them if companies don't match targets and cut their sugar content by a fifth before 2020. Similarly, he mentioned that the government would consider implementing a similar tax on sweets and chocolate, if they felt it was a necessary step towards encouraging healthier recipes.
So far Lucazade, Irn Bru, Fanta, and Ribena are amongst the drinks that have cut their sugar content by nearly a half, though some big names like Coca-Cola have yet to change their recipes. [Standard]