Sir, A tax on saturated fat (‘DH under pressure to rescue ‘nudging’ deal’, 5 November, p4) will not have a significant impact on obesity. The UK’s obesity problem is related to excess consumption generally, especially of all fats, sugar, and carbohydrates, and a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity is not caused by saturated fat alone - it is only a part of this pattern.
The food retail and manufacturing industry has already made considerable strides in reducing salt, sugar, transfats and saturated fats in leading brands. Every full-fat soft cheese, spread or yoghurt is accompanied by a light brand soft drinks are predominantly ‘no added sugar’ cooked meats are now lower in fat, and fruit & veg aisles boast a comprehensive range.
The public taste is gradually changing as a result of increased choice, education and a process of reformulation at manufacturing level. The government must help by working with industry on initiatives like the Responsibility Deals.
The public, industry and agriculture could do without an additional tax and administrative burden, however well-intentioned.
Eric Price, food and trading law advisor, Exova