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22 June 2015

FDF response to Jamie Oliver's soft drinks tax plans

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In response to Jamie Oliver's announcement on plans to introduce a tax on soft drinks sold in his restaurants, Ian Wright, Director General of the Food and Drink Federation, said:

“We strongly support Jamie Oliver's commitment to improving public health. He is a force for good. However, additional taxes on food and drinks don't work. Where they've been introduced they've not proven effective at driving long-term change to diets.

“We want Jamie to help us make sure the millions of people eating in restaurants and cafes up and down the country have access to nutritional information. It's often hard to tell if you are making a healthy choice or having a treat when you are out with friends and family. Nutritional information on food is transforming the food industry. With his help it could transform the restaurant industry too.

“Food and drink manufacturers have provided nutrition information on product packaging for nearly a decade. As well as giving consumers a clear understanding of what they're eating and how it fits within their diet, we've found it also encourages companies to adapt their recipes for health as consumers increasingly look for healthier options.

“Offering a range of portion sizes and reducing calories in foods and drinks are also tried and tested approaches which can improve overall diets when applied by businesses.”

Notes to editors

  • In the UK many foods and drinks are already taxed at the standard VAT rate of 20%.
  • Both Belgium and Denmark rejected the notion of a tax in 2013 and evidence from France shows that while sales of soft drinks initially fell after a tax was introduced in 2012 they have increased since.
  • Find information on nutrition labelling here: www.foodlabel.org.uk

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