George Osborne

Three-fifths (60.3%) of consumers are in favour of George Osborne’s plan to introduce a sugar levy on soft drinks.

That is the key finding from the latest Bridgethorne Shopper Index for The Grocer, which also revealed high consumer awareness of the levy, which is set to come into force next year following a consultation. More than nine out of 10 consumers (92.8%) said they had heard of Osborne’s plan.

Overall, 29.3% of shoppers said they definitely agreed with the sugar levy, 31% said they probably agreed, while 19.8% of respondents definitely didn’t agree, with the same number probably not agreeing.

More generally, the research revealed consumers are increasingly concerned about sugar in their diets. More than half (52%) are worried about the amount of sugar in their food, up from 49% last August. This compares with 46% who worry about additives, and 44% who are concerned about salt.

Almost a third of shoppers (32%) are concerned about calories, and 24% are worried about the amount of carbohydrates in their food.

Asked about efforts to cut back on sugar, 47.3% of shoppers said they were reading more product labels, 43.6% said they were switching to low or no-sugar versions of fizzy drinks, and 33.9% claimed to have given up certain foods.

“Sugar has had overwhelming exposure in the recent coverage of the Budget,” said Bridgethorne joint MD John Nevens.

“These findings suggest that while shoppers have an appetite for information, they intend to use it to make their own decisions about what they should or should not buy.”