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Statement on the National Food Strategy

15 July 2021

We are surprised and deeply alarmed at the extraordinary level of taxation proposed on the sale of sugar in part two of Henry Dimbleby’s National Food Strategy. Food has to be affordable for all and we do not believe that any foods should only be available for the rich. The report’s own view is that UK families would see their food bills increase by £2.3 - £2.9 bn.

“Obesity is a complex issue and we believe there is a need for a holistic and long-term approach, rather than being focused on any one single ingredient or product through levies. The success of policies should be judged on whether they will reduce obesity; not if they reduce consumption of individual ingredients or products.

“We recognise the strain obesity puts on the NHS and continue to actively work with food and drink producers to reformulate their products. To date, this has played an important role in reducing consumption of added sugars per person in the UK by 23.5% since 2001 whilst obesity levels have increased.”

Notes to editors:
  • Government figures show that consumption of non-milk extrinsic sugars (sometimes known as ‘added sugars’) have fallen by around 23.5% since 2001 (Defra Food and Family statistics 2018/19)
  • At the levels proposed, this proposed tax would put at risk many of the 9,500 jobs that make up the British sugar beet industry