An extra spoonful of sugar tax – 2nd helping

(The preceding story can be read in Sugar tax – 1st helping)

Volume is created by selling a lot of water, sugar and binder. The taste (variety) is then mainly a topping on the bound sugar water. Just take a look at the Ketchups, Curries, Teriyakis, Sweet Chilies and Sweet & Sours of the world: which ingredients head the list? Right: water and sugar.

So from the sales as well as the marketing point of view, it is very attractive to make products based on mainly sugar and water. Self-regulation in the industry hardly works, or at best very slow. In fact things only change as soon as the retailers actively ask for change and the consumer votes with his wallet. No surprise, because some earnings must be made in a market with wafer-thin margins and competition wars. Next to that there is little focus because of the attention for fat, salt and (demonized) E-numbers.

sugar tax

That’s why I as a consumer, food technology manager and product developer embrace the sugar tax whole heartedly. Stop reducing the price of sugar, add the tax on top of it and warn with clear traffic light logos on the front of the packaging how dramatically the situation really is. Firstly this reveals all hidden sugars, so people can easily make a sound decision about what to eat. Secondly there will be more financial scope for new product versions with less sugar. These will probably be more expensive, but because of the sugar tax in the end not more expensive than the in cost price cheaper sugar-rich varieties.

The net cost price for our food will increase, but the result is that lifestyle diseases like obesity and partly diabetes will probably diminish. Less sugar dips, gives a fit feeling. In the UK it seems to work, so why not over here? In case there are readers who think: “Yes that’s all very well, but what will we add for texture and taste?” you can contact TOP. We have a lot of experience in this field, and the results are often surprisingly good, up to even better than the original.

Wouter Franken
project leader food technology