Soft drink bosses' bitter view of sugary food tax

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Related tags: Coca-cola, Nutrition

Soft drink bosses' bitter view of sugary food tax
Senior soft drink executives have poured scorn on continued EU pressure to roll out taxes on sugary foods, including France's soda tax, which was levied on sugary drinks from January 1.

Speaking at the 8th Innobev Global Beverages Congress in London, Britvic chief executive Paul Moody said: "I have seen no evidence that changing the price of a sweetened product will change the behaviour of consumers."

Such measures were, in any case, unnecessary when manufacturers were working hard to reformulate products to cut sugar content, he added. "Behavioural change is part of what we do. The amount of effort we have put into 'no added sugar' alternatives is huge."

James Quincey, president of north west Europe & Nordics business unit for The Coca-Cola Company, said the movement was as much fuelled by a desire to swell coffers as by encouraging healthier consumption. "There is a shortage of funds everywhere and politicians around the world are making use of pools of money. It's not going to solve the problem."

Demonising products was not the answer because the obesity problem was bigger and involved consumer lifestyles, including exercise, added Quincey. "In the end, this is about calories in and calories out. People have become more sedentary."

The so-called 'soda tax' in France levies 1p extra on sugary versions of drinks such as Pepsi, while low- or no-calorie variants are exempt.

Related topics: Legal, Drinks

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