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World Medical Association urges governments to introduce sugar tax.

Posted on: 11/11/19 Posted by: Sidrah Ahmad

A pending sugar tax is affecting what consumers choose to drink. Learn how to adapt to the new trends and give your customers the beverages they crave.

Authorities around the world are starting to take note of the extent to which sugar contributes to cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, and issues with bone density. A movement that’s taken hold over the last ten years, leaving producers of fizzy drinks, snacks and other foodstuffs to start searching for healthier ways to sweeten their products. As a result, global demand for sugar is in steady decline. The wholesale price of the commodity is down by 32% in 2019 alone and consumers across Europe, America and Australia are opting for ever-healthier options.

Nothing tells the story better than the decline of soft drinks. Over the course of the last decade, sales of sugar-laden fizzy pop have sunk by close to 10% across Australia. The winner? Carbonated water, as old players and new brands alike help grow the sparkling water sector into a multi-billion-dollar global industry.

How the sugar tax works around the world

Policymakers across the world have recognized that sugar-related illnesses put a strain on healthcare services, all at a significant cost to society. In recent years, governments have decided to introduce what most call a ‘sugar tax.’

Singapore is set to become the first country to introduce a ban on advertisements of high sugar packaged drinks in 2020. The sugar tax is a cost added to sweetened drinks depending on their sugar content. Australia is yet to introduce one, but with almost supporting a levy, and the Senate putting forward recommendations, the arrival of the sugar tax may not be far off. 50% of people aged under-30 supporting a levy, and the Senate putting forward recommendations, the arrival of the sugar tax may not be far off.

How Sugar Tax Works in the United States

Americans commonly refer to the sugar tax as the soda tax. Given it isn’t a state-enforced levy, local governments can choose to place any charge they like on sweetened drinks leading to different taxes depending on your jurisdiction. For example, all four California jurisdictions choose to charge a 1-cent levy per ounce of sweetened drink; whereas Boulder, Colorado, charges 2-cents per ounce – the tax might sound modest, but it can cause drink prices to spike by upwards of 75% of the original cost.

How Sugar Tax Works in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom enforces the same sugar tax policy across the whole country. It was introduced in April 2018 under the name the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) with any drink containing more than 8g of sugar per 100ml taxed at 24p per litre; while drinks containing between 5-8g of sugar per 100ml charged a levy of 18p per litre. The only exemptions apply to fruit juices that contain natural sugars; or, drinks with at least 75% milk that have a high calcium content, making them healthier on balance.

Does Australia need a sugar tax?

Over 35 national governments now have sugar taxes – following in the wake of pioneers Hungary, which introduced a levy in 2011— with 20 new levies introduced since 2015. The shift in policy is the result of a 2015 World Health Organization publication that recommended adults and children reduce their daily sugar consumption to less than 10% of their daily energy intake – a significant ask bearing in mind that, in the developed world, a rate of 15-25% is common.

In fact, more than 50% of the Australian population eats more sugar than the WHO recommends. A factor that undoubtedly contributes to the much-reported Australian obesity epidemic as The Department of Health notes that two-thirds of the population is now ‘overweight’ or ‘obese.’

As cases of obesity alone have almost tripled worldwide since 1975, and with over 39% of adults aged 18+ now classified as overweight, sugar taxation on the global stage seems long overdue. Not least because the WHO is confident that a reduction in sugar consumption will reduce the obesity, cardiovascular disease, and tooth decay, in turn.

Even public support for sugar taxation is growing. So, is it time venue operators sought to boost business by rethinking the range of soft drinks they offer, looking to low-sugar alternatives instead?

How can venues benefit from shifting consumer preferences?

On average, we consume nearly 22kg of added sugar each year. That’s an additional fourteen teaspoons of sugar a day. Diabetes costs Australia upwards of $6 billion a year as each patient with type 2 diabetes costs $4,025 to treat. A sugar tax could cover some of that cost, but that’s not the intention. A potential levy would focus on reducing soda consumption, and research from the US proves taxation can have its intended effect. Californian residents drank 52% less soft drinks following the introduction of a local charge, so should the sugar tax arrive in Australia, venues will need to find alternatives.

The Purezza dispensing system, which supplies both still and sparkling water and is a simple way to satisfy customers’ fizzy, yet low-sugar cravings: add fresh ingredients to Purezza sparkling water to create an array of iced teas, detox beverages, even sparkling iced coffees.. It’s the perfect solution for venues looking to drive profitability whilst at the same time satisfying consumer demand for healthy alternatives. venues can be prepared, stay ahead of the competition and drive profitability by choosing Purezza to satisfy consumer demand and pre-empt the impact of a sugar tax should it be introduced.

Venues can be prepared, stay ahead of the competition and drive profitability by choosing Purezza to satisfy consumer demand and pre-empt the impact of a sugar tax, should it be introduced. Get in touch with a Purezza representative to revitalize your beverage options today: these hassle-free systems are the most dynamic way to keep pace with ever-evolving consumer demands.


You can now find Purezza in over 8,000 venues across North America, Europe, and Australia. The key to our success lies in our extensive range of Purezza products that allow restaurants, cafes, function centres and hospitality venues to turn a healthy margin by selling premium still and sparkling water on-site.

Contact us to find out more or talk to a Purezza expert today to find the right product for your venue.