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World Medical Association urges governments to introduce sugar tax.

Posted on: 11/11/19 Posted by: Mark Barber

The sugar tax is affecting what consumers choose to drink. Learn how to adapt to the new trends and give your customers the beverages they crave.

Sugar is famously bad for you. Authorities around the world are starting to take note of the extent to which sugar contributes to cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, and issues with bone density. Consumers are looking for their sweet fix elsewhere, a movement that’s taken hold over the last ten years, leaving producers of fizzy drinks, snacks, and other foodstuffs to start looking for healthier ways (like dates) to sweeten their products. As a result, global demand for sugar is in steady decline. The wholesale price of the commodity is down by 32% in 2019 alone and consumers across Europe, America, and Australia are opting for ever-healthier options.

Nothing tells the story better than the ‘decline of big soda’ as, over the last 20 years, sales of sugar-laden fizzy pop have plunged by more than 25%. The big winner? Carbonated water as old players and new brands alike have helped grow the fizzy water sector into a $2.2 billion industry.

How the sugar tax works in the US & the UK

Policymakers across the world have recognized that sugar-related illnesses put a strain on healthcare services, all at a significant cost to society. In recent years, governments have decided to introduce what most call a ‘sugar tax.’

The sugar tax is a cost added to sweetened drinks. In the US, it ranges from 1-2 cents per ounce of drink volume, and while that might sound modest, it can cause drink prices to spike by upwards of 75% of the original cost.

How Sugar Tax Works in the United States

Americans commonly refer to the sugar tax as the soda tax. Given it isn’t a state-enforced levy, local governments can choose to place any charge they like on sweetened drinks leading to different taxes depending on your jurisdiction.

For example, all four California jurisdictions choose to charge a 1-cent levy per ounce of sweetened drink – whereas Boulder, Colorado, charges 2-cents per ounce.

How Sugar Tax Works in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom enforces the same sugar tax policy across the whole country. It was introduced in April 2018 under the name the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) with any drink containing more than 8g of sugar per 100ml taxed at 24p per liter; while drinks containing between 5-8g of sugar per 100ml charged a levy of 18p per liter. The only exemptions apply to fruit juices that contain natural sugars; or, drinks with at least 75% milk that have a high calcium content, making them healthier on balance.

Why do we need a sugar tax?

Over 35 national governments now have sugar taxesfollowing in the wake of pioneers like Hungary who introduced a levy in 2011 with 20 new levies introduced since 2015. The shift in policy is the result of a 2015 World Health Organization publication that recommended adults and children reduce their daily sugar consumption to less than 10% of their daily energy intake– a significant ask bearing in mind that, in the developed world, a rate of 15-25% is common.

The WHO is confident such a change in diet will reduce the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and tooth decay. Given cases of obesity alone have nearly tripled since 1975with over 39% of adults over 18 years old now classified as overweight sugar taxation seems long overdue.

In the states that have enforced a sugar tax, soda consumption has dropped by up to 50%: a statistic that venue operators could do well to take note of, perhaps rethinking their range of fizzy drinks on offer.

How can venues manage the drop in soda consumption?

On average, in the US, we consume 152 pounds of sugar a year; that’s six whole cups of sugar a week. It’s this excessive consumption that’s triggering conditions like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, tooth decay, and bone density problems. Diabetes costs the US upwards of $327 billion a year in lost productivity and healthcare costs; obesity, $147 billion. The sugar tax covers some of these costs, but that’s not the intention. The levy is focused on reducing soda consumption, and research proves it’s having its intended effect.

As consumers step away from sugary sodas, venues need to find an alternative offering. The Purezza sparkling water system is a simple way to satisfy customers’ fizzy, yet low-sugar cravings: simply add fresh ingredients to Purezza sparkling water to create an array of iced teas, detox beverages, and even sparkling iced coffees.

Purezza systems also offer customers premium sparkling water on tap, delivering great-tasting chilled water straight to the table in Purezza-branded glass bottles. It’s the perfect option for venues looking to drive profitability as much as satisfy consumer demand, delivering endless sparkling water, tapped straight from your mains supply. Get in touch with a Purezza representative to revitalize your beverage options today: these hassle-free systems are the most dynamic way to keep pace with ever-evolving consumer demands.


You can now find Purezza in over 8,000 venues across North America, Europe, and Australia. The key to our success lies in our extensive range of Purezza products that allow restaurants, cafes, conference centers, and hospitality venues to turn a healthy margin by selling premium still and sparkling water on-site.

Contact us to find out more or talk to a Purezza expert today to find the right product for your venue.