Go to content

Sugar levy delivering the goods in fight against decay

The sugar levy has secured huge gains in the fight against decay – and so Ministers must remain willing to force the hand of the food industry on reformulation.

Using data on hospital admissions for tooth extractions caused by decay, new research published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health suggests that 22 months after it was implemented, the Soft Drinks Industry Levy was associated with a 12% reduction in admissions amongst children aged 0 to 18 years.

The levy took out 47,000 tonnes of sugar from soft drinks in its first 4 years as it encouraged drinks manufacturers to reduce sugar levels to avoid the tax. This effectiveness is in sharp contrast to voluntary appeals to the food industry from the Government.

We’re clear expansion of the levy into other product ranges – including milk-based drinks, biscuits, cakes, sweets, yoghurts and cereals - would drive widespread reformulation of high sugar foods and need not raise costs for consumers.

“The sugar levy is delivering the goods in the fight against decay, so it’s time to double down” says BDA Chair Eddie Crouch.

“This isn’t about adding to the cost of living. When voluntary action has clearly failed, this shows government must force industry’s hand on cutting sugar.”

Tooth decay is the number one reason for hospital admissions among young children. It’s a national scandal, and we will keep leading the argument for change.