The Sugar Tax Sort of Worked if You Read the Labels

By Gary Cutlack on at

Analysis of the composition of the nation's chiller cabinets has found that the sugar tax on the unhealthiest of drinks appears to have worked, or at least it has forced the manufacturers to reduce sugar content across the board so they may avoid paying the dread tax and increasing the cost of their products. Which has probably helped some people consume less of the white filth.

The impact of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy on drink formulations has been checked by a team of UK universities including the big posh ones at Oxford and Cambridge, with researchers finding that only 15 per cent of the eligible drinks now on sale contain enough sugar to bracket them in the SDIL payment level. Before the tax came in, 52 per cent of drinks sold contained levels of sugar high enough to be classified as grim for your organs -- a level set at more than 5g of sugar per 100ml of liquid.

Head analyst Oxford's Dr Peter Scarborough said: "The levy is an important policy as it both reduces the sugar level of many drinks and increases the prices of high sugar drinks, helping the public to make healthier choices. These population approaches are important not only for preventing disease but also for reducing health inequalities."

Apparently there was already a slight downward trend in the sugar content of drinks before the announcement of the SDIL – led by supermarket own brands – but the tax accelerated this massively, and is proof, according to the Dr, that "...taxes can be used to improve the healthiness of food." So expect more. Especially on that stuff you eat for breakfast.