Last week Franco Sassi, Professor of International Health Policy and Economics, addressed attendees of the third annual Sugar Reduction Summit on the potential impacts of the UK Government’s proposed sugar tax.
In his presentation, Professor Sassi talked to the strengths and weaknesses of the UK Government’s proposed sugar tax and how impactful it will be in lowering obesity rates. Professor Sassi also provided an analysis of food taxes in other countries, noting the potential for these taxes to reduce the consumption of sugary items such as soft drinks, when appropriately designed.
Professor Sassi noted: “Whilst the UK Government’s proposed sugar tax should not be seen as the sole answer to tackling obesity, I do believe it will be a positive move towards healthier eating and drinking in a country where obesity has reached some of the highest levels worldwide. However when considering the implementation of the Sugar Tax, policy makers should pay special attention to how the tax base and tax point will be defined, as these will determine the effect on people’s purchases and ultimately on their diets.”
Professor Sassi estimated that the proposed tax has the potential to offset 10 years of growth in obesity rates. The tax is also noted to be a valuable contribution to a wider strategy which experts say should include a range of effective actions.
Professor Sassi’s analysis also addressed the likely impacts of changes in EU sugar policies expected in 2017, based on research conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He showed that sugar consumption per capita is expected to drop by over 10% in 10 years, but the consumption of sweeteners derived from corn and wheat (syrups) will rise sharply when production quotas are abolished, so calorie intake per capita will remain virtually stable in the absence of further actions.
Professor Franco Sassi will lead the Business School’s Centre for Health Economics and Policy Innovation. You can read more about Franco Sassi’s research here.