Campaign group Action on Sugar (AoS) is urging the next Government to also implement a mandatory sugar levy on all confectionery products that contain high levels of sugar to ensure maximum impact to help tackle the obesity and Type 2 Diabetes crisis.
Action on Sugar is requesting that the so-called “Sugar Tax”, as already approved by HM Treasury for sugar-sweetened soft drinks, is mandatory for all confectionery produced by manufacturers and retailers (set at a minimum levy of 20%), including those products sold in coffee shops and restaurants.
“Chocolate and sweet confectionery contributes 9% total sugar to the diets of children (4-10 year olds) and 11% in teenagers (11-18 years) (2) yet contain little or no nutritional value and contributes significantly to tooth decay,” claims AoS.
“The levy should be structured by the HM Treasury as per the soft drinks industry levy, whereby it is aimed at manufacturers to encourage them to reduce sugar in their overall product ranges. Any revenue raised should go towards improving health in the UK”, said Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of AoS.
AOS added that the soft drinks industry levy must be ‘closely monitored’ to ensure compliance; and that it be gradually escalated.
“There is concern that some of the drink brands who refuse to reduce sugar in their products will pass on the cost of the levy to their customers, distributing it evenly across their high and low sugar products creating little or no incentive to choose the healthier option. Incremental reduction should continue to be encouraged by gradually reducing the levy threshold,” said AoS.