Campaign groups Action on Sugar and Action on Salt hope that a calorie tax would encourage manufacturers to create healthier foods in order to help tackle childhood obesity, cancer and diabetes.
‘Manufacturers are simply not doing enough,’ said Katharine Jenner, Campaign Director for Action on Sugar and Action on Salt.
‘An ‘excess calorie levy’ would encourage manufacturers to improve the nutritional quality of their unhealthy foods and, most importantly, tackle the thousands who suffer the consequences of a poor diet, leading to obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.’
The call for a calorie tax comes following the implementation of the government’s Soft Drinks Industry Levy, which came into effect from April 2018. As part of the levy, traders pay one of two rates: either the ‘standard rate’ of 18p per litre, which applies to drinks with sugar content between five grams and up to (but not including) eight grams per 100ml, or the ‘higher rate’ of 24p per litre, which applies to drinks with sugar content equal to or greater than eight grams per 100ml.
According to the government, the Soft Drinks Industry Levy has raised millions for sports facilities and healthier eating in schools, and has encouraged manufacturers to cut sugar in over half the drinks found in UK stores.
Given that obesity has now been branded the second biggest cause of cancer after smoking, this is surely sweet news for all?