On February 9th, the Dietitians of Canada released a position paper recommending that an excise tax of at least 10-20% be applied to sugar-sweetened beverages sold in Canada. Sugar-sweetened beverages are defined as soft drinks/pop, fruit drinks, sports drinks, tea and coffee drinks, energy drinks, sweetened milks/milk alternatives, and any other beverages to which sugar has been added.
According to the position paper, there is moderate evidence linking consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to excess weight, obesity, and chronic disease in children and adults. An excise tax, unlike a sales tax, is levied before the point of purchase so that the price of the product itself will be higher. Since price is a major factor influencing food choices, it is thought that the excise tax will deter Canadians from purchasing sugar-sweetened beverages and lead to an overall lower consumption of them.
For the greatest impact, the Dietitians of Canada suggest that the taxation measures be combined with other policy interventions such as increasing access to healthy foods while decreasing access to unhealthy foods in schools, daycares, and recreation facilities; restrictions on the marketing of foods and beverages to children; and effective, long-term educational initiatives.
Sugar and sugar taxes are definitely hot nutrition issues. How do these issues affect your personal and business lives? We’ll share our insights and additional research at our upcoming Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists annual course – join us and be a part of the discussion!