soft drinks sugar

Below the tax threshold

Sir, Like many drinks producers, we have been following developments regarding the proposed sugar tax with great interest, and it is now clearly going to become a reality (‘Soft drinks industry reels over scale of Osborne’s sugar tax,’ 19 March, p5).

Putting people first is at the very heart of our philosophy at Appy Food & Drinks, which is why we have worked hard to ensure the majority of our drinks - including our successful lines of Peppa Pig, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and SpongeBob SquarePants licensed juice drinks - are already under the 5g sugar per 100ml threshold, at which tax will begin to be imposed from 2018.

In addition, even though our licensed drinks contain nothing but 50% spring water, 50% natural juice and natural sweetener stevia, we have already started reformulating any drinks that are just slightly above the threshold, in order to ensure we fully comply with the new rules well in advance of the 2018 deadline.

As an industry, we all have a key role to play in helping people to lower their consumption of sugar, and at Appy Food & Drinks we will continue to look for new ways to reduce sugar, while ensuring that people can continue to enjoy our drinks without ever compromising on taste or enjoyment.

Bobby Patel, founder, Appy Food & Drinks

Tectonic shift in sugar

Sir, George Osborne’s announcement in this week’s Budget that a sugar tax will be introduced by 2018 has come as a surprise to some, but the NHS and the drinks industry has been bracing itself for the announcement for some time. Public attitudes towards sugar have undergone a huge shift in recent months, and low-fat diets are increasingly being shelved for low-sugar regimes.

Brands must recognise that this is more than a marketing challenge. By all means find ways to communicate the benefits of your sugary food - whether that’s energy, taste or plain old fun - but don’t kid yourself that will insulate your sales from this tectonic shift in consumer attitudes.

In order to survive, brands will need to become adaptable, focusing on NPD to make sure their products are relevant in a post sugar tax market. Building this flexible approach into all aspects of their brand, from marketing, branding and packaging, will ensure they future-proof themselves and don’t risk becoming sidelined.

Nikki Austen, head of strategy, Webb deVlam

A faster weaning process

Sir, It’s only fair to mention that many large manufacturers have already been working very hard to reduce sugar levels. However, public acceptance of many alternatives is still a big sticking point. Stevia, ahead conceptually, is not always effective in reality - although iterations are improving all the time. This sugar tax means the pressure is now on to wean us off sugar quicker than would otherwise have been the case.

Andrew Wardlaw, via