The world is at war with sugar. A single ingredient, produced from a plant-based source, has become the most recent food evil. Communities around the world have been petitioning for a sugar tax and some governments have introduced legislation to make the sugar tax a reality.
In March 2016, George Osborne, chancellor of the UK at the time, announced that a new sugar tax would be introduced in the UK. The tax, designed to tackle the growing child obesity crisis, will be introduced from early 2018 and will primarily target the soft drink market.
As conscientious consumers we need to understand what this tax means for the food and drinks we buy.
What Is The New Sugar Tax?
The term “sugar tax” is a term coined by the UK media to describe the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) that was included in the UK 2016 Budget.
The Department of Health says “the levy directly targets the producers and importers of sugary soft drinks to encourage them to remove added sugar, promote diet drinks, and reduce portion sizes for high sugar drinks”.
The tax is aimed at producers, not consumers, and is only applied to drinks that have added sugar. The rate of tax paid is inline with the amount of added sugar. The new tax will only apply to those drinks where the sugar content is above 5%, or five grams (or more) per 100 millilitres.
Consider the example of a 330ml can of cola where the typical sugar content is 35g. This is far from the 5% sugar content guideline. The new tax for drinks containing more than 8% sugar content is expected to be levied at 24p per litre. This means a single 330ml can of drink will be taxed approximately 8p.
While the tax is imposed on drinks producers it is very likely that the cost will be passed onto consumers in the form of higher priced drinks. So if you like your sugary drinks, be prepared to be hit where it hurts: your wallet.
The UK government wants to give all drinks producers time to take action and change their drink formulas before the tax comes into effect. Consultation on the new levy has begun and some detailed legislation will be included in the Finance Bill in 2017. It is expected that implementation will begin from April 2018 onwards.
This delayed implementation also gives us as consumers time to educate ourselves on the drinks we consume and plenty of opportunity to wean ourselves off of sugary drinks. It’s the perfect time to turn over a new leaf and start drinking products that are better for us.
The Sugar Tax And Juice
The sugar tax is primarily aimed at drinks that have added sugar. Pure, 100% juices won’t be taxed because they don’t contain any added sugar. Juices made from 100% fruit, vegetables, or a mix of both will be exempt from the tax.
Similarly, drinks that have a high milk content will also be excluded due to their nutritional value. The UK government understands that pure juices and milk drinks “contain calcium and other nutrients that are vital for a healthy diet”.
The health benefits of 100% juice have meant that a single, 150ml serving of juice is included in the five-a-day healthy eating guidelines issued by England’s Department of Health.
If you want to start changing your own habits to avoid the upcoming sugar tax, juice is a great place to start. Don’t be fooled into thinking that juice is just apple or orange juice, that’s just the beginning. There’s many variations, including raw, organic, cold-pressed, plant-based and the numerous fashionable vegetable varieties.
The sugar tax is important and has wide ranging implications for us all and education is paramount. Share this article to spread the word and about the sugar tax and dispel the myths and confusion around healthy drinks like 100% juice.