BY PHILIP MADDOCKS
MANAGING DIRECTOR, B.FRESH
Sugar tax – in my eyes, there is no debate! It is a necessity. As a nation, we need to take greater consideration of what we drink and large sugar quantities need to be better policed as a negative. We need to educate consumers, but also brands, especially in the juice sector, that high levels of sugar are damaging our nation’s health. Our sector needs to be more responsible for the impact we’re having on the UK’s well-being.
Naturally there is no single method that will be 100% effective. Of course the higher the tax increase, the greater the impact, but we need to collectively do something to control this present situation and this is a good start. Currently the national obesity rate is over 62% of adults in the UK, and rose by over 10% in the last ten years. No wonder strokes and heart attacks are becoming more common, because we’re not aware of the harmful content we regularly consume. This is why “clean labelling” is so important for our chilled juice category in particular. It is a huge piece that also must be adopted by the wider food and drink industry to help consumers make a more informed decision on product purchase. There is currently consumer confusion within the chilled juice category and from our research we’ve seen there is some mistrust over the content of juices produced. With an overall decline in sales of 5% in the wider category a resulting factor, simple and clear messages on pack are required and something we feel very strongly about at B.fresh to ensure we are consistently transparent about our produce’s content.
Fruit juice contains a lot of natural sugar and is why we use plenty of vegetables that are lower in natural sugar. As the first British grower and producer to use the cold-pressed high pressure process (HPP), the non-thermal food processing technology, it enables our juices to also retain a higher level of nutrients and vitamins, while not altering taste profiles. We are carving out a stronger, healthier juice category.
That being said, awareness of sugar content needs to be a widespread action and relate to all areas of our health: dining in and out. For example, in addition to calories listed on menus, sugar content should also be referenced. We need to change consumers’ mind-sets and place sugar higher up on the agenda as a “food to watch out for”. More importantly still is that we ensure consumers understand what our daily sugar intake should be so they can self-monitor, and food and diet becomes part of a deeper understanding of how we should look after ourselves. This proposed “sugar tax” is one step in the right direction.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020