Taxing soft drinks
There have been some startling assertions recently about the impact of ‘sugar sweetened beverages’ on life and death.
One academic study went so far as to blame sugar sweetened beverages for 184,000 adult deaths a year worldwide, but critics claimed chronic disease was the culprit.
There have also been important moves on taxing soft drinks, but in varying directions.
• New Zealand rejected a call for a 20% tax because the government did not see this as a feasible solution.
• Barbados is due to introduce a 10% tax on 1st August. This will apply to added sugar drinks but not natural sugar drinks such as 100% fruit juice, coconut water and milk.
Mexico’s 10% tax was introduced on 1st January 2014 and led to a 6% cut in consumption during the year. This may prove to be a significant outcome, but it remains to be seen what impact there will be on obesity.