Coca-Cola believes a tax on sugary drinks wont be effective

Coca-Cola believes a tax on sugary drinks won't be effective

The Coca-Cola Co has criticised UK plans for a sugar tax, saying reformulation is a better tool for fighting obesity.

Writing in the UK's Telegraph yesterday, GM of Coca-Cola UK & Ireland Jon Woods said there was "no reliable evidence" that taxing food and drink makes consumers thinner. He said other methods have proved more successful and that his unit had spent GBP30m (US$44m) in the past four years researching lower-sugar alternatives in soft drinks. 

"All of our new product development work is focused on creating great tasting lower and no sugar drinks," Woods said.

According to Woods, reformulation has removed "thousands of tonnes of sugar from the British diet". He also said the sugar from soft drinks bought in shops for consumption at home has fallen by 14% between 2012 and 2016.

"The combined actions of soft drinks manufacturers and consumer education and awareness is powerful and proving effective," Woods said.

This year, the UK Government announced plans for a sugar tax on beverages, which is expected to come into effect in 2018. Commentators have predicted that companies will look to reformulate recipes and cut calories.

Sugar has become a hot issue in the soft drinks industry as governments around the world attempt to tackle rising levels of obesity-related diseases by cracking down on soda.

Last week, the American Beverage Association vowed to continue its fight against the introduction of health warnings on soda advertisements in San Francisco.