Soft drink

The UK sugar tax scam

After the UK made the mad decision to tax sugar in beverages there has been a push from the health troughers to do the?same here.

Oliver Hartwich from?the?NZ Initiative out lines why that is just silly.

[T]he sugar tax claims to address a real problem: child obesity. Everything else about it is slightly surreal, to put it mildly.

To start with, the tax won?t raise a sugar cube in the ocean of government finance. If everything goes according to plan (and what does?), it will yield ?520 million a year. To put it into perspective, the UK budget deficit stands at ?55 billion.

Okay, you might say, the limited scope of revenue-raising for HM Treasury does not matter. Taxing sugar is not about the money but about reducing the amount of sugar consumed. Fair enough. But then it is surprising what is taxed ? and what is not. Though they call it a sugar tax, it is actually a fizzy sugary drinks tax.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne probably did not draw up his tax plans over a Starbucks coffee. Otherwise, he might have realised the great irony in the tax he is about to introduce.

Starbucks? ?Mulled Fruit ? Grape with Chai, Orange and Cinnamon Venti? holds the record for the most sugary drink available anywhere in the UK. If a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, Mary Poppins could serve you the content of a travel aid kit with this monster of a drink. It contains 25 teaspoons of sugar ? or 99g. By comparison, a standard can of Coke has about two-thirds less sugar.

Under Mr Osborne?s tax, however, coffees like this are exempt from the sugar tax, no matter how sweet they are. In fact, any milk-based drinks or fruit juice will not be liable for taxation.

Read more »

Taxpayers’ Union smashes up health troughers with basic facts

We have been calling out health troughers for years.

Just recently they have been pushing very hard in favour of Sugar Taxes.

The problem with their campaigns, apart from being government funded, is that without exception they are simply politically motivated crusades with almost no science or facts to back them up.

The troughers also don’t like to be criticised and are trying to have their critics silenced. But it has taken the Taxpayers’ Union to expose their campaigns for the political charade that they are:

In recent weeks the calls from academics and campaigners urging the government to implement taxes on sugar and fats have been growing louder. Last week for example, Auckland University academics were promoting ?the preliminary results? (that?s code for not peer reviewed) of a study which they said proves the effectiveness of Mexico?s tax on sugar sweetened beverages. Numerous media outlets repeated the claim that Mexico?s tax has resulted in a 12 per cent reduction in sugary drink consumption. But is that the truth?

One of our researchers, Joshua Riddiford, has been looking into the issue of food taxes. This morning we launched his report examining the effectiveness of sugar taxes in curbing obesity.

The report contains Nielsen sales data, which is being publicly released for the first time in New Zealand. The data shows that Mexican sales of sugar sweetened beverages have not moved, despite the introduction of a sugar tax. Auckland University?s public health activists are choosing to use a study which relies on interview data to support their campaign. The real sales data, obtained by your humble Taxpayers? Union, does not lie.

Fizzed out: Why a sugar tax won?t curb obesity?sets the record straight, and examines the evidence on whether introducing new taxes on food and drinks are likely to affect obesity rates. Read more »

This time it’s not Countdown in the news – It’s Pak ‘n Save

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Regular readers will know Countdown has copped a fair amount of flack over the past year as a result of the Commerce Commission?s investigation into more than 90 complaints about the supermarket giant?s behaviour with Kiwi suppliers.

But today Countdown boss Steve Donohue can have a rest? it?s his Kiwi based competitor Foodstuffs that gets some good old-fashioned Whaleoil sunlight.

Foodstuffs owned and operated Pak ?n Save Northlands supermarket thought it was a good idea to run a promotion pushing 1.5l bottles of soft drink at 9c each.

Seriously, 9c for a 1.5l bottle of soft drink.

Maybe Foodstuffs bosses and their PR team have been sitting there enjoying seeing Countdown getting the attention, thinking they?re the good guys. But how quickly things can change. ? Read more »

Told ya, now they are coming for your food

I have always said that health campaigners will move on from tobacco and start coming after whatever they want to control next.

Be it fast food, or sugar or fat they want to apply the same tactics of control to those products like they have for tobacco.

Less than two years ago I gave a speech to the Food and Grocery Council and told them that if they didn’t back the fight against plain packing in tobacco then they were going to be next.

Many of them scoffed at me…I’ll bet they wish they’d listened now.

Aaron Shultz, an Australian health campaigner, is calling for plain packaging featuring health warnings for junk food. He has posted a picture on Facebook of what he believes the packaging could look like – dropping the branding in favour of a picture reminding people of the price they could pay for a junk food habit.

Shultz is a health campaigner, who runs an organisation called Game Changer. It has a broader aim: to halt the promotion of alcohol, junk food and gambling through sport. He argues that by associating sport with these unhealthy brands, it normalises junk food, and contributes to the growing obesity problem in Australia. ?? Read more »

NZ Junk food manufacturers in for tough 2015

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Companies making ?junk food? look as though they?re in for a tough year.

If it wasn?t the Aussie council seeking to ban chips, chocolate and sugary drinks from parks, it is now UK ?experts? calling for a ban on junk food adverts.

The usual health experts suspects are calling for bans on junk food TV ads, saying they shouldn?t be aired before 9pm in the hope that parents will stop getting pressured by their kids wanting ‘unhealthy food and sugary drinks’.

The British Heart Foundation is saying ‘seven in ten parents with children aged four to 16 have been pestered by their children to buy junk food they have seen advertised on TV.’? ? Read more »

Marlbourgh District Council loons seeking a ban on sugar, forget they banned fluoride too

The Marlborough District Council are a bunch of loons.

They are now seeking to ban sugary drinks from council facilities in a bid to save kids teeth.

Marlborough District Council could become the second council in New Zealand to ban sugary drinks from being sold at their venues and events.

The council is to develop a policy around the ban after the region’s principal dental officer warned sugar-sweetened beverages were rotting children’s teeth and ramping up levels of obesity and Type II Diabetes.

The council has come under pressure from the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board and Nelson City Council (NCC) to implement a ban on sugary drinks at its events venues. NCC adopted the ban in July and it has been well received by ratepayers there.

If a similar policy gets the green light in Blenheim it would cover sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and flavoured milk.

They would be banned from sale in council buildings, at its venues including Stadium 2000 in Blenheim, the ferry terminal and airport and at council-run events.

Diet soft drinks would still be sold and people who wanted a sugary drink could bring it to a council building or event.

Nelson Marlborough principal dental officer Dr Rob Beaglehole, who fought for the board to introduce a similar policy in top of the south hospitals, said the council had a responsibility to act as a role model.

“This isn’t a draconian policy for a blanket ban on sugar. We are not about to stop telling people they can’t have sugar in their tea or coffee. It is about making the healthy choice the easiest choice.”

He was sick of extracting rotten teeth from children who had been drinking soft drinks. Last month he pulled 11 teeth from a 2-year-old boy.

Most of his front teeth were rotten and after the extraction he needed 15 stitches.

“He wasn’t in great shape. He hadn’t been sleeping properly for weeks and he hadn’t eaten properly for two weeks.

“His mum was beside herself and sat up with him most nights. He was crying in pain.”

Read more »

And they said it wouldn’t happen to them

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For some time I?ve been warning various companies that the troughers who beat up on the tobacco? industry are now turning their sights onto products like energy and sugary drinks. They said nah it wouldn?t happen to them.

Well I told them.

In Australia we now see the same tactics once applied to tobacco companies now being applied to anyone employed by energy drinks manufacturers. And it?s happening now.

Deakin University in Australia is currently holding the 1st International Energy Drinks Conference in Victoria.

Here?s how they view participation by anyone from companies that manufacture these drinks.

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More health troughers score big from the Marsden Fund

Another set of health troughers has been revealed to be attacking food and drink manufacturers and all funded by the Marsden Fund.

A “sin tax” on unhealthy items is often touted as a way to stop people having them so often, but it might drive them to cheaper brands.

A team led by a University of Waikato researcher has just received $800,000 to study the idea, focusing on sugary soft drinks and cigarettes.

And while the data they’ll analyse doesn’t come from New Zealand, the findings have implications for Kiwis.

Economics professor John Gibson is leading a team looking into whether a “sin tax” would bring down consumption of fizzy drink and cigarettes.

It was one of four Waikato-led projects to receive funding from the Marsden Fund, and reaped $805,000.

“There are New Zealand studies which say 20 per cent fizzy drink tax would save X number of lives and those are the studies we have some questions about,” Gibson said.

There was a loophole in data which focused on spend rather than quantity bought, he said.

“They might simply go from drinking expensive Coke to either cheaper Coke . . . or they might go from Coke down to Pams or Homebrand,” he said.

For instance, Countdown sells a 600ml bottle of Coca Cola for $3.99 whereas 1.25L of Homebrand Lemonade is just 97 cents.

“The existing studies assume the reduction in spending translates to a reduction in quantity,” Gibson said. ? Read more »

The majority of NZs want to pay more for their food? Really?

The NZ Herald has a poll result today where the headline claims that Kiwi want a ‘fat tax’.

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Except that was not was originally asked in the poll.

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The question is rather clumsy. Imagine the result if they had asked “Do you think it is a good idea to tax ALL?Kiwis with a sugar tax, increasing food and drink prices across the board, when it is only fat bastards who should be taxed?”.? Read more »

How long before the wowsers lobby for this here?

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After surpassing the U.S. as the most obese country in the world in 2013, Mexico is taking action against ads for high-calorie food and soft drinks.

Ads featuring those items will be banned on TV between 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. on weekdays, and between 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on weekends. The ads will also be restricted in movie theaters. Mexicans, who have the highest rate of diabetes in the world, are also the world?s largest consumers of sugary drinks, with an average of 163 litres?per person a year.?

It is only a matter of time before the health nazis start pushing for similar bans here…Duncan Garner will push this hard out for sure, as will water salesman Tony Falkenstein.

Meanwhile Coke and Frucor and other soda manufacturers should prepare themselves for a hammering that their blond, ditzy, PR maven?won’t know what to cope with.

Mexico is restricting television advertising for high-calorie food and soft drinks, as part of its campaign against obesity, the government says.

Such ads will be banned with immediate effect on terrestrial and cable TV between 14:30 and 19:30 on weekdays and between 07:30 and 19:30 at weekends.

Restrictions will also be imposed on similar ads shown at the cinema.

Seventy percent of adults and 30% of children in Mexico are obese or overweight, official figures suggest.

Overall, 40% of commercials for soft drinks, confectionery and chocolates will disappear from TV, in favour of products which “meet nutritional standards”, the health ministry is quoted as saying.

Mexico is going further than any other country in restricting advertising.

The UK, Norway and Quebec province in Canada, all have bans on advertising junk food in children’s television.

However, this has not stopped the adverts appearing in more popular “family” programming. ? Read more »

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