The Scottish Grocers’ Federation has expressed strong disappointment in the budget announcement by the Chancellor that a sugar tax will be levied on the soft drinks industry. The levy will be introduced in two years' time, to give companies time to adapt products to reduce their sugar content. SGF pointed out that the majority of soft drinks now sold in the UK are actually low and no calorie including nearly half (49% of all carbonates). Soft drinks contributed 8.8% of household sugar consumption in 2015, down from 10.1% in 2011.
Chief Executive Pete Cheema commented,
“This measure by the Chancellor completely ignores the efforts taken by the soft drinks industry to reformulate their products, promote low or no calorie alternatives and the commitment not to advertise high sugar soft drinks to under 16s. Additionally – and of great concern to retailers – is that this is likely simply to pass on the cost to consumers This is despite the Chancellor suggesting last year that the obesity problem would be best tackled in other ways.”
It has been estimated that Scotland enjoys direct benefits of some £289m gross value added from the manufacturing of soft drinks, higher than any other UK region.