Sugar tax to be extended?

The recently-announced levy on fizzy drinks has edged closer to the bakery sector, as it could soon affect cereals and snacks, according to a government health minister. 

Alistair Burt MP made a statement in the House of Commons this week that suggested food companies would be given an ultimatum to make their products – including cereals and snacks – healthier, or have taxes added to them.

Burt was asked by Liberal Democrat former minister Norman Lamb to consider “taxing sugar as an ingredient to create an incentive for reformulation of products to reduce sugar content across the board, rather than just picking on one type of product”.

He replied: “What you are calling for is exactly what the strategy does. It is designed to be quite wide and take into account the possibility of other action in other places.”

Government sources made clear that the soft drink levy could be taken to other products, but played down suggestions that sugar as a specific ingredient could be taxed.

Ian Wright, the Food and Drink Federation’s director general, said: “Any extension of taxes on food is most unwelcome.”

Last month The Grocer’s Bridgethorne Shopper Index showed that 60% of consumers were in favour of a sugar tax.

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