Media Statement

17 March, 2016

SOFT DRINK TAX: an exercise in futility

Responding to the announcement from the UK government to introduce a soft drink tax, Australian Beverages Council CEO, Geoff Parker said;

“This tax is yet another step in the wrong direction to end the global obesity epidemic.

It is absurd to think this will solve obesity when soft drinks contribute just 1.7 per cent of the daily intake of kilojoules for Australian adults.1

Nearly one in two drinks consumed is a non-sugar variety (42 per cent volume share in 2011) compared to 30 per cent in 1997.2 Consumption is also on the decline, as outlined in the latest report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

When it comes to discretionary foods, they are ranked seventh in kilojoule contribution.

Further research from the McKinsey Global Institute found that a 10% tax on high-sugar products would be one of the least effective measures in combatting obesity, ranking 14th of 17 intervention methods.3

There is still no evidence globally that a soft drink tax has any impact on obesity rates, In fact other European countries, like Denmark, have introduced and subsequently repealed a ‘fat’ tax within 18 months, due to its blatant ineffectiveness. When implemented in Mexico, the tax only reduced dietary intake by six calories.

Soft drinks can absolutely be enjoyed in moderation. Food and beverage consumption is a personal choice, not a revenue raiser.”

1Secondary analysis of non-alcoholic beverage consumption from the Australian National Health Survey, (commissioned by the Australian Beverages Council and undertaken by the CSIRO), 2015

2 Quenching Australia’s thirst: A trend analysis of water-based beverage sales from 1997 to 2011, Gina S. LEVY and William S. SHRAPNEL – Nutrition & Dietetics 2014

3 Overcoming obesity: An initial economic analysis, McKinsey Global Institute 2014



For more information contact:

Geoff Parker, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Beverages Council, M: 0407 646 195

Michelle Curley, Hill + Knowlton Strategies, M: 0416 168 475

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