News article

13 July 2015

FDF response to BMA call for sugar tax

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Responding to the British Medical Association (BMA)'s report 'Food for thought', Ian Wright, Director General of the Food and Drink Federation, said:
“We share the BMA's concerns about the health of young people in the UK. Better, more balanced diets and lifestyles are needed to help people, young and old, to meet all current diet and physical activity recommendations.

“British food and drink companies are cutting the salt, saturates and calories in their products, which are offered in a range of portion sizes. They have virtually eliminated artificial trans fats in UK products. For well over a decade, UK producers have voluntarily provided clear nutrition information on pack. The food industry is also helping health professionals to encourage people to use the information provided.

“Many foods and drinks are already taxed at 20%. Where additional taxes have been introduced they've not proven effective at driving long-term, lasting change to diets. We welcome Downing Street recently unequivocally ruling out a sugar tax and committing to a partnership approach to public health.“

Note to Editors:

  • Government data show that young people are consuming sugars, salt and saturates above recommended levels, and less fibre and fruits and vegetables than advised. Source: National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2014
  • Physical inactivity is also a problem, with only one in five boys getting the recommended amount of exercise each day, and even fewer girls. Source: Health Survey for England 2012
  • Around 90% of FDF's largest members by turnover include front of pack labelling, with the vast majority offering the maximum nutrition information permitted (energy plus four nutrients – sugar, fat, saturates and salt). Source: FDF
  • Food and drink manufacturers have virtually eliminated artificial trans fats in UK products. Government data show that in the UK, intakes of trans fats are much lower than national and international guidelines and similar to levels you would expect from those that occur naturally in the diet (1.3g / day, (0.6 - 0.7% of food energy) Source: National Diet & Nutrition Survey
  • Voluntary reformulation to reduce salt in UK products has contributed to salt intakes dropping by 15% in recent years. Sources: National Diet & Nutrition Survey
  • The majority of FDF's large members are leading supporters of the Government's Change4Life social marketing campaign and in addition include healthy living messages on their websites. Source: FDF
  • 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.

More Information, please contact:

Anna Taylor
020 7420 7118

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