The Populus poll of more than 2,000 adults in Great Britain revealed 67% thought introducing a tax would unfairly hit the drinks the majority who drink soft beverages responsibly.
The same percentage thought that any such tax would increase substantially year-on-year, while 78% considered a soft drinks sugar tax would inevitably lead to taxes on other foods.
Only four in 10 Britons considered a tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks would effectively tackle obesity. Even fewer thought a ban on supermarket price promotions, for example, buy-one-get-one-free offers, would be effective.
‘Presuming to speak for the British public’
FDF director general Ian Wright said: “Instead of presuming to speak for the British public as some health campaigners have done, we’ve asked consumers directly whether they think a sugar tax would be effective at tackling obesity.
The public’s instincts mirror what the facts are telling us – that there isn’t evidence that a tax would make any difference to obesity. Last month, Public Health England, which called for a new tax on top of the 20% VAT charged on soft drinks, conceded that there was no long-term data showing it would work.”
Wright added that Britain’s obesity challenge was far more complicated than any single ingredient, food or drink. “We need to follow the evidence, and help people to improve their overall diets and become more active. Food and drink companies are already playing their part by adapting recipes and limiting portion size, and are willing and ready to do more.”
“Food and drink companies are already playing their part by adapting recipes and limiting portion size, and are willing and ready to do more.”
Populus interviewed 2,005 adults aged over 18 online between November 25–26.
Meanwhile, a leading group of Members of Parliament has concluded a tax on sugary drinks as part of a “bold and urgent” plan to remedy the child obesity epidemic in England.
There was now “compelling evidence” that such a tax would cut consumption and obesity levels, according to the House of Commons Health Committee.
Drink sugar tax poll results – at a glance
- Penalise the majority of people who consume soft drinks responsibly (67% agree)
- Increase substantially year-on-year (67% agree)
- Inevitably lead to taxes on other foods (78% agree)