Sugar tax splits opinion

The eating and drinking out sector is split down the middle about the so-called sugar tax, as the government presses ahead with its new healthier eating agenda.

A new poll by CGA Peach of leaders of pub and restaurant groups reveals that 46% of operators consider a levy on added-sugar soft drinks to be a positive move, with 54% thinking it negative. Opinion about the effectiveness of the plan is also evenly divided, between those who think it will lead to people consuming less sugar (48%) and those thinking they will consume more (52%).

The survey also reveals what leaders plan to do in response to the tax, including passing on costs to consumers (57%) and looking to alternative and less sugary drinks (54%). But nearly a quarter (24%) admit they are unsure what they will do—indicating that the industry has plenty of thinking to do before it can get to grips with the issue.

It was leaders of the smaller groups who were the most positive about the tax, according to the research undertaken in July, with 55% of leaders with less than 50 sites citing the tax as a positive move. These were also the leaders most likely to pass costs on to consumers (65%), whereas the most cited response for those with over 200 sites was to look to alternative less-sugary soft drinks.

The sugar tax is among a range of proposals outlined by the government today (18 August); for more about them, click here. The government has now launched a consultation on its plans; to contribute to it, click here.