Supermarkets “breaking ranks” with soft drinks giants on sugar tax

Britain’s leading supermarkets could be about to break ranks with the soft drinks giants on government plans to tackle the obesity crisis, reports The Times.

With the government expected soon to announce tough new plans to tackle the national childhood obesity epidemic, the British Retail Consortium has warned that voluntary a approach to pricing and promotions for sugary food and drink would fail.

The BRC’s director of food, Andrew Opie, told the newspaper: “We want the obesity strategy to be effective, which means accepting what is possible through voluntary action. One thing that isn’t possible is a voluntary initiative to control promotion and marketing in food outlets.”

While he said that a sugar tax was “a decision for government”, he added: “If government did pursue a sugar tax, we would ask that it is proportionate and appropriately targeted.”

Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, described the development as a “breaking of the ranks”, commenting that the retailer body “has never been as distant from the manufacturers”. He added that “with industry wavering” the government might now decide to act decisively on sugar.