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Sugar Tax/2. Soft drink's entrepreneurs: "Inevitable effects on prices and inflation"

Assobibe's President Pierini: "Final text contradicts the technical report, companies penalized"

“We confidently ask the Government to continue working to identify useful solutions for postponing purely ideological measures that are harmful to the country because they increase inflation, penalize citizens and undermine businesses during the peak production ahead of the summer season”. With these words Giangiacomo Pierini , president of Assobibe, a Confindustria association representing the producers of soft drinks in Italy, returns to comment on the news of the entry into force of the Sugar tax in July 2024, albeit with a reduced rate , which arrived as a surprise over the weekend given the reassurances received from the Government in recent months. News which, moreover, "contradicts what is indicated in the technical report", Assobibe noted in a note.

“Why increase the tax per liter of product to businesses and citizens by 14%, at a time when interest rates on mortgages are still high and the economy and growth are uncertain. The introduction of the tax on sweet taste a few weeks before the start of the summer season, the most important for our market which continues to be not positive in 2024 as well as in 2023, seems to really want to put companies further into crisis, rather than support them", declares Pierini. "The effects of the tax on all links in the supply chain must be avoided, estimated by research institute Nomisma in a contraction in sales (-16%), investments (-46 million), purchases of raw materials (-400 million), in addition to the resulting employment risks (-5 thousand jobs)".

"As a sector since 2006", recalls the president of Assobibe, "we have worked on our offer and on our marketing activities, but also through protocols with the Ministry of Health: we have cut sugar on the shelf by 41% in ten years without the need of taxes, we have adopted strict self-limitations in sales to the most fragile consumers such as children, we have joined the Quarter without inflation and supported Nutrinform with Mimit, convinced that penalizing a single ingredient as proposed by Nutriscore is absurd , which is also shared by the Government but in contradiction with the confirmation of the Sugar tax, as also stated by Federalimentare".

Regarding the mismatch between the technical report and yesterday's stamped amendment, Pierini comments: “The technical report also indicates a postponement of the Sugar tax, as well as the Plastic tax, to July 2026: a postponement which was evidently considered necessary. Let's cancel a useless and harmful tax, which even when formulated better than this has not produced the health effects for which it was designed".

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EFA News - European Food Agency