Sugar tax in South Africa results in ‘positive changes’

23 Apr 2021

A study published in The Lancet found that following the 2018 implementation of a 10% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in South Africa, the overall consumption of sugar from these beverages fell 35% from 16.25 grams per person daily to 10.63 grams per person daily.

Beverage purchases as a whole fell 15% from 519 milliliters per day to 443.39 milliliters following the introduction of the levy.

Sugar tax in South Africa results in ‘positive changes’

The study noted that the majority of the reduction in consumption stemmed from households in lower socioeconomic statuses, pointing to price sensitivity as the catalyst for the large drop in purchases of sugary beverages. Prior to the implementation of this sugary beverage tax, the study noted that these same households purchased larger amounts of the no-taxable beverages than wealthier households.

“Our findings also align with economic theory and empirical evidence, including earlier findings in Mexico, showing larger relative reductions in purchases of taxable beverages among lower Living Standards Measure (LSM) households compared with reductions observed in higher LSM households.” One year after introducing a 1-peso-per-litre tax on beverages containing added sugar, Mexico saw a 6% reduction in purchased volume relative to pre-tax trends over the first year of the tax, and 7·6% reduction over the first two years of the tax.

South Africa has the greatest number of residents suffering from diet-related non-communicable diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa. With so many of its population overweight and reacting negatively to heightened sugar intake, South Africa became the first country in its region to enact such a levy on sugary beverages. The promising results identified in the study indicate that “the reduction in sugar from taxable beverage purchases suggest a potential role for sugar-based taxes more broadly.”

Taxes on sugary beverages are not unique to South Africa. Other countries like the UK and parts of the United States have implemented variations of sugar taxes or sweetened beverages and results have shown that it leads to a decline in the intake of sugary drinks.

Nevertheless, the study cautioned that trends in higher income countries are not reflective of potential results in other African countries. In South Africa though, the effects on an individual’s health engendered by this tax can be seen clearly. Following the implementation of this levy calorie consumption reduced 27%.

The tax “has coincided with a large reduction in purchases in terms of volumes and sugar quantities from taxable beverages.”

Related news

Capri Sun adds monk fruit to US juice drinks to reduce sugar by 40%

Capri Sun adds monk fruit to US juice drinks to reduce sugar by 40%

15 Aug 2022

With parents increasingly focusing on reducing their children’s sugar intake, Kraft Heinz is using monk fruit to cut sugar in US Capri Sun products to deliver on both taste and health credentials.

Read more 
How plant-based milk brands can address taste and texture challenges

How plant-based milk brands can address taste and texture challenges

12 Aug 2022

Today’s consumers want plant-based milk products that mimic the desirable sensorial attributes of their non-dairy alternative counterparts. In response, brands and manufacturers are focusing on taste, texture, education and sustainability.

Read more 
Diageo unveils plans for €200 million carbon-neutral brewery in Ireland

Diageo unveils plans for €200 million carbon-neutral brewery in Ireland

1 Aug 2022

Diageo has unveiled plans for a €200 million carbon-neutral lager and ales brewery in Ireland – the country’s first.

Read more 
Shifting trends: Analysing the impact of high inflation in India

Shifting trends: Analysing the impact of high inflation in India

25 Jul 2022

Despite food and beverage categories in India feeling the pinch of increasing inflation, the overall outlook remains upbeat as governmental support steps in and evolving consumer purchasing patterns shape the sector.

Read more 
Gen Z consumers are thirsty for variety in beverages

Gen Z consumers are thirsty for variety in beverages

31 May 2022

As Gen Z consumers gain disposable income, they are looking to quench their thirst with beverage brands that are clean, sustainable and socially responsible, according to a report from the global consumer trend forecaster WGSN.

Read more 
Tea flavour innovation in China unites tradition with modernity

Tea flavour innovation in China unites tradition with modernity

13 Apr 2022

Chinese tea brands are innovating with new flavours, blends and formats, and even making a foray into food with tea-flavoured food and drink launches.

Read more 
Low- and no-alcohol beverages see significant growth globally

Low- and no-alcohol beverages see significant growth globally

11 Apr 2022

Alcohol-free and low-alcohol beverages are helping drive growth for many alcohol manufacturers that have been struggling to adapt to the changing tastes of the market in recent years.

Read more 
Brand licensing deals rise post-pandemic as consumers seek familiar and healthier products

Brand licensing deals rise post-pandemic as consumers seek familiar and healthier products

8 Apr 2022

Longer-term brand licensing deals between food companies have become more popular in recent times – a trend set to continue and flourish, partly thanks to the pandemic, licensing experts told Ingredients Network.

Read more 
Baby formula brands innovate with clean label launches

Baby formula brands innovate with clean label launches

7 Apr 2022

Clean label baby food is receiving a significant amount of development, with two recent brands ByHeart and Bobbi launching formulations certified by the Clean Label Project with a Purity Award.

Read more 
Consumers seek ashwagandha-fueled relaxation in beverages

Consumers seek ashwagandha-fueled relaxation in beverages

28 Mar 2022

Ashwagandha has been used in India for centuries, and it is only in recent years that consumers in the US and now Europe are realising its health benefits, with manufacturers starting to add this adaptogen to beverage formulations.

Read more