Britvic CEO questions logic of added sugar tax on drinks

Britvic CEO questions logic of added sugar tax on drinks

Britvic's CEO, Paul Moody, has said that he does not expect a tax on added sugar soft drinks in France to be replicated in the UK.

Speaking to analysts today (30 November), Moody said that, although he cannot be certain that a sugar tax on soft drinks will be avoided, the move looks unlikely. His comments on the company's full-year results call follow news that France will introduce such a tax, in part to help combat obesity.

"Comfortably, around 60% to 70% of all UK soft drinks volume now is no-added sugar," said Moody. "Therefore, if one believes that the sugar tax is being levied to combat the growing threat of obesity, then I think from a GB perspective, the Government is reassured by actions the industry has taken."

In January, France is set to introduce a levy of EUR0.02 per 33cl can of added sugar soft drinks. Meanwhile, the UK Government has faced criticism from across the political spectrum over its Responsibility Deals with the food, drink and alcohol industries.   

Despite this pressure, Moody said of the French tax: "At the moment, I'm pretty confident that we won't see that flow through into the GB market." On Ireland, where the Government is thought to have considered following the French model, Moody added: "Although speculation is rife around Ireland, we don't see any evidence that that will apply there either."

Moody questioned the motivation behind the French tax. He said that there is "a slight disconnect" between the Government's actions and its stated intent. "As far as I am aware, confectionery hasn't been subject to a sugar tax levy and one would imagine that it contains more sugar than soft drinks, so I think it's a difficult call to make," Moody said.