The New Zealand beverage industry recognises it has a role to play in supporting public health objectives and welcomes steps to encourage a balanced diet and active lifestyle. However we would not welcome a revenue-gathering tax that won’t change health outcomes for New Zealanders.

The rise in obesity globally is a complex phenomenon with many causes – including sedentary activity amid declining levels of physical activity.

Research shows that the taxation tool as a device to reduce sugar consumption simply doesn’t work for reducing obesity– Mexico, Denmark and a number of U.S. states are proof of this.

Overall calorie intake from a wide variety of sources is part of that picture – only 1.6% of New Zealander’s total energy intake comes from the added sugar content of sweetened non-alcoholic beverages (New Zealand National Nutrition Survey 2008/2009). Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been declining for more than ten years, and there is already a strong trend towards consumption of low- or no-calorie beverages.

The NZBC believes that a holistic awareness about our general health and well-being is a far more effective tool for dealing with excessive sugar consumption than taxation. That’s why consumers are demanding low sugar alternatives and why manufacturers are responding strongly with product reformulation, smaller pack sizes and increased promotion of low and no calorie drinks.

NZ Beverage Council infographic: A Look Inside NZ Fridges  (pdf)

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