The headlines read that a 10 pence levy on sugar-sweetened beverages in 37 Jamie’s Italian restaurants from 1 September 2015 reduced sales by 11.0% after 12 weeks.
What was missing from many reports of the study were a number of contradictory facts and questions.
• Sales recovered by 1.7% in the following 12 weeks.
• What happened since March 2016 ?
• While sugar-sweetened beverage sales had fallen 9.3% at 6 months, sales of diet cola had also dropped by 7.3%.
• More surprisingly, bottled water sales decreased by 6.5% even though its overall market is growing and fruit juice increased by 21.8% even though its overall market is declining. Yet children’s fruit juice was down 9.9%.
Confused ? Well …
• The research didn’t measure other beverage or tap water consumption.
• Nor did it examine the impact of “supporting activity including beverage menu redesign, new products and establishment of a children’s health fund from levy proceeds” plus a dedicated television programme.
So much for the headlines.