Prime Minister David Cameron has rejected the proposal for a sugar tax of up to 20%. But companies will be expected to reduce sugar content in their products – if they fail to do so, the question of a tax may be reintroduced.
The policy will initially apply to drinks, but could be extended to snacks and other food sectors.
Other measures being discussed by Downing Street include restrictions on television advertisements for junk food before a 9pm watershed — a plan advocated by the health secretary Jeremy Hunt. Since 2006, advertisements for products high in fat, salt or sugar have been banned during children’s programmes.
New sugar labelling
Elsewhere, this evening’s Inside Out programme on the BBC will follow a sugar labelling campaigner, Rend Platings, who succeeds in persuading Tesco to change its sugar labelling. Platings aims to launch a certification scheme, describing it as “Fairtrade but for sugar, for truly no-added-sugar products.”
She said: “There’s new guidance on the different types of sugar we should and shouldn’t eat, but nothing on food labels.”
Caroline Abel, design manager for Tesco brands Free From, Goodness, Healthy Living, Organic, Tesco Finest, Bakery, BWS, Grocery, and Impulse, said: “We would like all retailers to sign up to the Sugarwise guarantee and stock products within the guidelines in at least eight of the 12 categories where children normally consume sugar. We hope to be seeing products appear on Tesco shelves in the forthcoming months that either are certified Sugarwise or could be accredited.”
The programme will air at 7.30pm this evening (15 February) on BBC1 Cambridgeshire