Is Sugar the next Tobacco?
Is Sugar the next Tobacco?
Pressure to reduce sugar in food is growing. On the back of effective campaigning and the publication of new dietary advice by influential health bodies, sugar reduction has risen to the top of the dietary health agenda during the past three years. In response, governments across the world are introducing taxes designed principally to limit sugar consumption as a means of tackling rising obesity rates and other diet-related health issues.
So far, the majority of these measures have been targeted at sweetened soft drinks, but as the imposition of such taxes becomes more common, and particularly if those taxes already introduced produce positive health outcomes, policymakers may begin to extend these measures to food products containing high levels of sugar.
This report covers the campaign against sugar, whether nutrient taxes actually work, and the role of reformulation in delivering the food of tomorrow.Extract: “Much of the progress in salt was achieved by so-called “reformulation by stealth”, where salt levels in foods were quietly decreased over time, with consumers’ palates quickly adjusting to each successive reduction. Emerging research into taste perceptions suggests this incremental approach may not work so effectively for sugar... In the face of these challenges, food companies are likely to increasingly explore process-based solutions that are designed to provide the same perceptions of sweetness to the consumer but with lower concentrations of sugar, by adapting the size, shape or density of sugar crystals.”
This 33-page report outlines the four key questions that most food manufacturers will be asking:
- Why is sugar being singled-out?
- Is the issue about more than just calories?
- How can we reduce sugar consumption?
- What effect will taxation have?
Author Ben Cooper specialises in business ethics, responsible trading, food policy issues, and sustainability. Over the last ten years, Ben has written numerous in-depth articles for just-food on issues as diverse as sustainable sourcing, food reformulation, nutritional labelling, traceability, the Fairtrade market, functional foods, the use of food colourings, and environmental issues.
Is the industry’s relationship with sugar about to turn sour? To find out, buy this report today.
Part one: Why sugar?
Dietary advice targets sugar
Campaigner traction – AOS to childhood obesity strategy (COS)
Childhood obesity strategy
Carrot and stick
Part two: More than just calories?
Analogies with tobacco
Consensus on government advice
Current evidence justifies action
Part three: How to reduce sugar consumption?
Keep it clean
Differing views on stealth
The PHE view
Portion size and product mix crucial
Part four: Will taxation work?
Focus on sugary soft drinks
Spur to reformulation
UK soft drinks levy
To levy or to tax?
Impact on spending patterns
Further evaluation critical
About the author