Retailers must decide whether to keep their meal deals in place after April’s sugar tax comes into force, following warnings the offers could cancel out any benefits of the levy. 

University of Brighton public health academic Carol Williams said last week that sandwich-and-a-drink deals could render the purpose of sugar tax “meaningless” because retailers would absorb the higher cost of sugary drinks in order to keep prices competitive. 

Store owners told RN they want to keep their meal deal offers and guide customers to lower-sugar drinks in other ways. 

Bay Bashir, of Lifestyle Express in Middlesbrough, said: “We’ll absorb the cost of high-sugar drinks, but we’ll also heavily promote zero-sugar bottles and merchandise them next to our other meal deal items to drive sales.” 

Vip Measuria, of One Stop Borrowash, Derby, said: “It’s up to head office to direct this. We’ll absorb the cost of the high-sugar drinks at first to keep our meal deals competitive.”

Budgens is also considering its meal deal strategy. “We are in the process of working with our customers regarding the implementation of the new sugar tax,” a spokesperson told RN.