Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax: industry statements

ResourcesPolicy DossiersSugar-Sweetened Beverage TaxSugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax: industry statements

Industry position statements 

Against SSB taxes

“I wanted to let you know that we have decided not to change the recipe of Coca-Cola Classic. […] Because the tax rate is so high, on Coca-Cola Classic we will pass on the tax in full to retailers – as the Government expects manufacturers to do. On some packs, this will be done through a combination of smaller pack sizes and higher prices. For example, our 1.75L bottle will be replaced by a 1.5L bottle as a direct result of the tax. At the same time, we have decided to increase the size of the 1.75L bottles of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke to 2L, so our zero sugar alternatives are even better value for people. We hope this will encourage more Coca-Cola drinkers to try one of our no sugar colas. […] I still believe the Government’s new tax on a very small number of products that contain sugar will not reduce obesity rates – which is its stated objective. The fact is that as the sugar we consume from soft drinks has declined rapidly over the last decade, obesity rates have continued to rise.” - Jon Woods,  Manager of Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland

“To say soda is the only cause of obesity, that’s not correct. Just walk down the street and count the number of White Castles or Burger Kings or Jack in the Box. If we eliminate soda, would people stay away from fried food, hot dogs and all the other junk out there?” - Nelson Eusebio, Executive Director of the National Supermarket Association

Steve Perez excoriates the sugar levy as a “tax on taste”. The range is made using 100pc natural ingredients. Why would we change that?” - Steve Perez, Chairman of Global Brands

“As an industry we recognise we have a role to play in tackling obesity, so it’s a sad irony that the one category that has led the way in reducing consumers’ sugar intake – down 16% from soft drinks since 2012 – is being targeted for a punitive tax.” - Gavin Partington, Director General of the British Soft Drinks Association

“It’s also ironic that the tax hits the soft drinks category, which has led the way in helping consumers reduce sugar intake – down nearly 18 per cent since 2012. We are also the only sector with a calorie reduction target for 2020.” “We support the need to address the public health challenge the country faces, but it’s worth bearing in mind that there is no evidence taxing a single product or ingredient has reduced levels of obesity anywhere in the world.” - Gavin Partington, Director General of the British Soft Drinks Association

“We don’t believe the sugar tax is the right thing to be done. We are not debating the issue, we are debating the solution. The facts don’t suggest that a sugar tax works to change behaviour. We know this is one of the mechanics and solutions that people think will help deal with the issue of obesity, at least from a government perspective, but there is no evidence to suggest that this will reduce obesity.” - Leedert den Hollander, Boss at Coca-Cola UK

“While we recognise sugar consumption is a shared responsibility, we do not believe that a tax on soft drinks is an effective solution or fair to consumers.” - Marnie Millar, chief executive of Nichols

“We are extremely disappointed that the government is proposing to introduce a soft drinks tax from 2018. Singling out soft drinks alone will not solve the obesity problem, given the small proportion of calories they contribute in the average diet.” - Britvic

“We are extremely disappointed by today’s announcement of a new tax on some of the UK’s most successful and innovative companies. For nearly a year we have waited for a holistic strategy to tackle obesity. What we’ve got today instead is a piece of political theatre.” - Ian Wright, Director General of the Food and Drink Federation

Pro SSB taxes

“We talked to the relatives of the founders [of Ribena and Lucozade] and they said the founders would have wanted us to reformulate” - Peter Harding of Suntory's UK business 

“We’re not going to keep all of our customers happy but it’s a fact of life that if we are going to take sugar and calories out of our diets, which is so essential for the world going forward, then we need to use alternatives in order to maintain the great taste of our products.” - Roger White, chief of AG Barr

“If it was just the retailers trying to comply that’s one thing, but the consumer is specifically seeking out soft drinks below the threshold. It’s a no-brainer to say yes. That seems like a very good business opportunity.” - Kerstin Robinson, co-founder of low-sugar soft drink Nix & Kix

“The introduction of the soft drinks levy granted us an opportunity to review our portfolio and consider a number of options to ensure our brands remain relevant to consumers.” - Dave McNulty, MD at SHS Drinks

“The world has changed with consumers now wanting healthier drinks and more action from the brands they regularly enjoy.” - Peter Harding, Chief Operating Officer at Lucozade Ribena Suntory