INDUSTRY SEEKS CONSTRUCTIVE RESPONSE TO OBESITY

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MEDIA RELEASE

23 November 2016

INDUSTRY SEEKS CONSTRUCTIVE RESPONSE TO OBESITY

The Australian retail, farming, grocery and beverage sectors contribute more than $311bn to the economy each year, and account for approximately 15% of the total workforce in Australia.

Our industries understand that obesity is a public health problem in Australia, and that it is appropriate for calls to be made for Australians to modify and improve their dietary intake.

However, it is not beneficial to blame or tax a single component of the diet.

Obesity is a serious and complex public issue with no single cause or quick-fix solution. A new tax is not the way to make our nation healthier.

The McKinsey Global Institute, for instance, classifies taxation as one of the least effective obesity interventions, with ‘No direct evidence for change in weight or change in consumption or physical activity levels.’[1]

In fact, consumption trends show that the change such a tax seeks to effect is already happening.

Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data indicates a decline in added sugar intake over time, yet obesity rates continue to climb.[2]

As a food supply sector, we recognise that we have a role to play in improving the food choices available for the Australian consumer.

We will continue to:

  • Promote and support healthy balanced lifestyles that involve responsible eating habits and regular exercise;
  • Develop and provide clear and meaningful fact-based nutrition information and labelling, providing the information people need at point of purchase to make appropriate decisions for the occasion;
  • Increase the availability of products with fewer kilojoules, including more reduced, low- and no-kilojoule product offerings, as well as more packaging options and smaller portion sizes;
  • Ensure certain products are not marketed to children and comply with canteen guidelines;
  • Support physical activity and nutrition programmes, contributing to the research and evidence base and developing partnerships that advances nutrition science;
  • Defend the interests of our sugarcane farmers, who provide vital jobs and support in regional and rural Australia.

We are committed to working with public health groups, Non-Government Organisations, and government to make positive changes to the food supply into the future.

We welcome a conversation on establishing a broad and holistic approach to tackling obesity.

[Ends]

Media Contacts:

Australian Beverages Council: William Roberts – 0431 318 893

Australian Food & Grocery Council: James Mathews – 0407 416 002

Australian Industry Group (Ai Group): Tim Piper – 0411 430 301

Canegrowers: Dan Galligan – 0429 707 809

 

[1] McKinsey Global Institute, Overcoming obesity: An initial economic analysis, November 2014.

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Health Survey: Consumption of Added Sugars, April 2016.

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