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CLARA MOSCHINI

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London, too much sugar in drinks: tax is arrived

And producers adapt themselves to reduce it

The sugar tax on soft drinks came into effect on Friday meaning manufacturers have to pay a levy on the high-sugar drinks they sell. This Law initiative that is part of the health program to tackle obesity, is innovative compared to other similar already present in other countries. The objective is not to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks, but to push producers through the fiscal lever to reduce their sugar content. The tax has two bands: one of 18 pence per liter for drinks containing more than 5 grams of sugar per 100 milliliter, and the other of 24 pence per liter for drinks with more than 8 grams of sugar per 100 milliliter.

Natural fruit juices, milk-based drinks and small producers are exempt from the tax. After the association of soft drink producers, the British Soft Drinks Association, had defined it as "absurd", in these two years companies have adapted. According to data from "Beverage Daily" and "Washington Post", in Britain Lucozade has already reformulated its drinks, which now contain less than 5 grams of sugar per 100 milliliter, Coca-Cola estimates that about 60% of its products will avoid the new tax, while San Pellegrino has reduced the sugar content of its beverages by 40%.

The success of the initiative is shown by the halving of the foreseen income, destined to the financing of sports activities in schools. Two years ago the British government had estimated that in the first year of application of the tax the revenues would have amounted to about 520 million pounds, equivalent to 587 million euros. Today, however, this estimate is more than halved, being 240 million pounds, equal to 271 million euros, thanks to the fact that in these two years many manufacturers have reformulated their drinks, reducing the sugar content to avoid having to pay the new tax.

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