Yesterday, the Government released its obesity strategy, confirming that the sugar tax will go ahead from April 2018.
With the removal of George Osborne as chancellor – the instigator of the sugar levy – last month, combined with attention squarely focused on how the UK leaves the EU, came speculation that taxing soft drinks had slipped off the Government’s to-do list.
But rumours of its return started circulating, and in preparation, the soft drinks industry launched an attack on the resurfacing levy with its ‘Face the facts, can the tax’ campaign based on research carried out by Oxford Economics.
Having a convenient range of lower-sugar options will play into shoppers’ hands – and wallets
The report from which it sources its arguments against taxing sugary drinks highlights that small retailers will be the most affected come April 2018.
Why? Because, by a considerable margin, small stores have a larger share of high-sugar drinks on their shelves. Twenty-six per cent of convenience stores’ soft drinks are estimated to qualify for one of the two tiers of tax.
The report also predicts that energy drinks – the soft drinks heartland for many convenience stores – will suffer a 9% sales blow.
The soft drinks industry isn’t going to roll over and let parliament bring the charge without a fight, but regardless of the outcome, perhaps it’s worth re-evaluating your range to see how you can future-proof your chiller.
Tax or not, consumers are increasingly being made aware of what food and drink is bad for their waistlines. Having a convenient range of lower-sugar options will play into shoppers’ hands – and wallets.
Across all categories, you need to get your store Fit For The Future.