- Raising the price of sugary drinks causes people to purchase more lager
- Increasing the cost of soft drinks appears to alter people’s spending habits
- Many alcoholic drinks contain similar, or greater, sugar levels to soft beverages
- A sugar tax will be introduced to soft drinks in the UK from April this year
- Researchers believe the tax should be broader to include a range of drinks
A sugar tax on soft drinks may increase alcohol consumption, new research reveals.
Raising the price of sugary drinks causes people to purchase greater amounts of lager, a UK study found today.
Although unclear why, the researchers believe increasing soft drinks’ prices alters people’s spending habits across all beverages.
As many alcoholic drinks contain similar or higher levels of sugar than soft beverages, a tax across a wider range of drinks may be more effective than just those with a high-sugar content, according to the researchers.
A sugar tax will be introduced to soft drinks in the UK from April this year in an attempt to curb rising obesity and diabetes rates.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who has introduced a sugar levy in his restaurants, set up an e-petition that saw more than 150,000 people back the move.
A sugar tax on soft drinks may increase alcohol consumption, new research reveals (stock)
WHAT IS THE SUGAR TAX?
From April, high-sugar drinks will be taxed according to THE volume of the beverages companies produce or import.
Two tax bands will apply to drinks with a sugar content of more than 5g per 100ml and 8g per 100ml.
These are thought to be taxed at 18p and 24p per litre, respectively.
Drinks under the higher tax rate will include full-strength Coca-Cola and Lucozade Energy.
The lower tax will apply to Dr Pepper and Fanta.
Drinks are being targeted over chocolate as beverages tend to be seen as less of a treat and are therefore easy to overindulge in.
The money – an estimated £520 million a year – is thought to go towards increasing sport funding in primary schools.
How the research was carried out
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine analysed 31,919 homes to determine how much they spent on food and drinks in 2012 to 2013.
In total, around six million drinks were purchased during the study’s duration, which were organised according into ‘high’, ‘medium’ or ‘low’ sugar levels.
High was defined as more than eight grams of sugar per 100ml, medium as 5-to-8 grams and low as less than five grams.
Wider range of drinks should be taxed
Despite finding an increase in sugary-drink prices boosts lager consumption, results also reveal cider and spirit sales fall.
The researchers wrote: ‘Increasing the price of [sugar-sweetened beverages] has the potential to both increase and decrease the purchase of alcohol, suggesting more nuanced price options across a range of beverages may be more effective than a single tax on high-sugar [ones].’
The findings were published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.