The launch of the latest UK budget has firmly put sugar in the firing line. George Osborne has announced a tax on large manufacturers of sugar-sweetened soft drinks they produce or import.
Sugar-sweetened soft drinks will be taxed in two distinct bands, those with a total sugar content above 5% (5g per 100ml) and a higher band for those with 8% added sugar. Details and definitions of what is considered ‘sugar’ are still unclear, but ‘pure’ fruit juices and milk based drinks will be excluded. Also small scale manufacturers will not have to pay this levy, which will be placed onto manufacturers directly in two years time. Will this additional charge be passed on to consumers? We’ll have to wait and see!
The classification of sugar in the budget will need further clarity. Assuming ‘sugar’ is added sucrose, what about other sweetening agents? Fructose? Glucose? Corn Syrups? What are classified as ‘pure’ fruit juices? How will sugars in these products be measured?
There are more questions than answers at this early stage, and with consultation in the summer we’ll be watching closely to find out more!