Sugar tax news: research shows staggering support for sugar reduction

Sugar tax news: research shows staggering support for sugar reduction
© iStock/elenachaykina

New survey from Public Health England (PHE) shows overwhelming public support for decreasing sugar and calories in everyday foods, bringing a positive wave of sugar tax news.

Ipsos MORI carried out the survey and brought about confident sugar tax news, where they found around 9 in 10 people support the government working with the food industry. The industry being manufacturers, supermarkets and the eating out of home sector, to make everyday foods and drinks healthier.

Helping the NHS was named a main reason for support

The figures emerged as Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, tells the food industry that next year PHE will examine where progress has not been made on sugar reduction and that this may result in further action from the government.

Speaking at yesterday’s, Tuesday 20 November 2018, Food Matters Live event in London, UK, Selbie provided an update regarding sugar tax news and will call on every sector of the food industry, focusing in particular on out of home outlets, to step up and accelerate its efforts.

The survey delved into the public’s perception of obesity, and PHE’s reduction programmes that have challenged the food industry to reduce sugar and calories by 20% in everyday foods such as breakfast cereals, yoghurts and pizzas, as well as ready-made meals.

Sugar tax news: is this what the people want?

The survery indicated that the public are most definitely on board with cutting sugar down. Below are further notable findings from the survey:

  • Over 9 in 10 respondents think obesity is a problem in the UK, with 79% of people believing it has a negative impact on the NHS
  • Only cancer (47% of respondents) and mental health (43%) are seen as bigger health concerns for the UK population than obesity (39%)
  • Support from 87% of people to replace unhealthy products with healthier ones, near supermarket tills and checkouts.

“Obesity is the pandemic of modern times”

The survey also highlighted how people expect the government to combat obesity, and anticipate more sugar tax news, with 60% believing the government could actually do more.

Severe obesity in 10 to 11-year olds is at an all-time high, however its clear people want healthier food and they expect the industry to have full involvement in taking action.
Selbie continues: “Customers are saying they want faster progress from the food industry, and in particular, those businesses that have taken little or no action. We will be publicly reporting on these during 2019.”

In May 2018, PHE reported on progress against the first year sugar reduction ambition of 5%. This showed an overall 2% reduction in foods contributing the most sugar to children’s diets, with up to 6% reduced in some product categories.

Next year, PHE will publish further progress towards reaching the 20% sugar reduction ambition by 2020, as well as guidelines for industry to achieve the 20% reduction in calories by 2024.

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