Soft drinks tax for the UK?

Soft drinks tax for the UK?

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) plans to discuss ways of using price to reduce the consumption of high sugar soft drinks and fatty foods.

The issue has been pencilled in for an FSA board meeting in autumn of this year, a spokesperson for the food safety body confirmed to just-drinks today (10 May).

It is thought that forcing up the price of full sugar soft drinks, as well foods high in saturated fat, may help to reduce consumption. One way of doing this could be via value added tax, which currently does not apply to food.

The FSA spokesperson was, however, keen to emphasise that thinking is only at an embryonic stage.

Sugar and saturated fat consumption are a key focus for the FSA over the next three years.

Speculation on a tax on sugary drinks will draw parallels with proposals for a similar levy in several states in the US.

In March, the FSA called on soft drinks producers to reduce their use of added sugar and offer smaller pack sizes for full sugar drinks by the end of 2012.

The British Soft Drinks Association said that it was "committed" to working with Government on reducing sugar content in drinks, but it criticised the FSA's target-led approach. The body would be extremely unlikely to support a tax on drinks.