Media Release
18 March 2013

The Australian Beverages Council responds to Sydney University study calling for tax and education to combat soft drink intake in children.

“According to the 2007 Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, across all children, only 1.6% of energy intake comes from soft drinks. This is a small amount of total kilojoules which means we need to be looking at more than just beverage consumption,” said the Council’s CEO, Mr Geoff Parker.

Furthermore, we know children’s consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been in decline. Between 1995 and 2007, mean intake of sugar-sweetened beverages fell by 33% in the 16–18 year age group.

“What this study says is what we all agree on – we need to focus on education, for both parents and children, on what a balanced diet looks like.”

“We agree, educating people about the fact that all kilojoules count is important,“ said Mr Parker.
Mr Parker said a balanced diet, motivation and exercise are key to a healthy lifestyle, not a tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks.
“Australian families can’t afford another tax on our supermarket trolley. Taxation will have no impact on obesity rates and will affect the people who can least afford it,” he said.

Mr Parker said the industry had been working for many years to ensure that consumers have the variety and information they need to make choices that are right for them and their families. The industry has voluntarily:

• Restricted marketing of sugar-sweetened beverages to children under 12 years of age

• Clearly labelled the kilojoules on the front label of cans and bottles

• Reformulated products to include a wide range of low and no-kilojoule options

• Restricted sales of sugar-sweetened soft drinks to primary schools and complied with all relevant school canteen guidelines.

“All kilojoules count regardless of the source. The industry produces a range of hydration options to suit everybody’s lifestyle, all of which can be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet supported by regular physical activity” Mr Parker concluded.

Media contact:

To speak with Geoff Parker CEO of Australian Beverages Council, please contact:

Sian Jenkins M: 0414 719 289
Alicia Diotte M: 0457 651 166