The Beverage Council of Ireland and Food and Drink Ireland have warned that if a 10% sugar tax is introduced in Ireland, shoppers could end up crossing the border to bulk buy soft drinks, chocolate, biscuits etc. as was the case in Denmark. The Danish fat tax example shows that it did not only threaten Danish jobs, but the tax was creating little or no health benefit.
While on one hand experts say the tax would be a ‘wake-up call’ to people consuming the wrong foods and doctors believe the tax would start conversations on healthy eating, industry spokespeople argue that it would do little to reduce obesity levels. Declan Jackson of the Beverage Council reports that 60% of people in Ireland do not consume soft drinks at all, and of those 40% who do, soft drinks only constitute 3.6% of their daily caloric intake. The interesting detail is that the obesity profile between both groups is identical. Further evidence to show there is little correlation between obesity and soft drinks consumption is shown by the fact that obesity rates rose from 14% in 1996 to 23% in 2006, yet between 2000 and 2011 the sales of sugar-sweetened drinks fell 19%.
A more effective way to improve public health is through more targeted solutions, such as the new laws which call for more detailed nutritional information on the front of food products, says Paul Kelly, director of Food and Drink Ireland.
The whole article is available here.