Media Statement

20 January, 2015

Response to research from the health lobbyists calling for soft drink tax

Health campaigners calling for a tax on food and soft drinks are completely out of step with the realities facing most families said the Australian Beverages Council.

Responding to research from the Consumers Health Forum, the Heart Foundation, the Obesity Policy Coalition and the Public Health Association of Australia, the Council’s CEO Geoff Parker said better education around diet and lifestyle, not taxes, is a far better and more commonsense approach for a healthier country.

“A tax on beverages would be ineffective because no single ingredient, food product or beverage alone is the sole contributor to obesity problems,” said Mr Parker.

An Ipsos research poll of 2,100 Australians undertaken in 2014, commissioned by The Australian Beverages Council, shows around two-thirds of Australians agree that a tax on soft drinks would be ineffective in reducing obesity and the majority of those surveyed were against the introduction of such a tax. 1 

“Almost three quarters of Australians (74 per cent) overwhelmingly believe that increasing education around healthy diets and lifestyles would be a better way to reduce obesity than a tax on soft drinks.”

“Any health professional calling for such taxes is clearly out of step with the rest of Australia, and according to the Ipsos research, the majority of Australian parents agree” said Parker.

To single out one ingredient as some kind of unique contributor to obesity is misguided and confusing for people. In Australia only 1.8 per cent of the daily intake of kJs for adults comes from soft drinks2 and in fact the amount of sugar consumed through soft drinks has dropped while obesity continues to rise.3

The same consumer research shows that an overwhelming proportion of Australians (77 per cent) believe they have the skills and knowledge necessary to make informed choices about what their children should eat and drink.

Mr. Parker said calls for a beverages tax were further misguided given Australians are showing a strong preference to low kilojoule drinks.

“The fact that two of the three biggest selling soft drinks in Australia are now zero or low kilojoule shows that companies are taking action through innovation and reformulation to provide consumers with variety and choices consistent with healthy lifestyles,” stated Parker.

 

Ends 

For more information contact:

Geoff Parker, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Beverages Council, M: 0407 646 195

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