Mexican evidence shows Sugar Tax will have no meaningful impact on calorie intake

The TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) today renews its call for the Government to abandon its proposed Sugar Tax, as new research reveals that it is unlikely to have any discernible impact on calorie intake.

The TPA examined the impact of the similar tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in Mexico, which is cited as a roaring success by Sugar Tax campaigners. But the truth is, the reduction in consumption resulting from this tax in Mexico was described as “nothing compared to the drop in calories people needed to consume in order to not be obese”.

Based on the findings of three authoritative studies, if the Sugar Tax had the same effect in the UK as it did on Mexico, it would have the following impact: 

  • Calorie intake would fall by just 4.6 calories per day, which is equivalent to:
    • 33.0 per cent of a single Carr’s Table Water Biscuit
    • 2.3 per cent of a can of Heinz Tomato Soup
    • 4.9 per cent of a slice of Tesco Wholemeal bread
  • This represents a fall of just 0.18 per cent (median) of a man's recommended daily calorie allowance
  • And 0.23 per cent (median) of a woman's recommended daily calorie allowance

The fact that the tax in Mexico raised more revenue than expected shows that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages did not fall as predicted. This in turn demonstrates that the move is about using consumers as a cash cow rather than improving their health. And so, as with any regressive tax, the poorest families will have been hit the hardest.

Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance said:

"It is astonishing that the government is pressing ahead with this pernicious tax when the evidence clearly suggests that it will simply not affect consumption in any meaningful way. 

"As with any regressive tax, this will only raise living costs for hard-pressed families, already struggling with big tax bills. Politicians must look at the evidence and ignore the High Priests of the Nanny State in the public health lobby, and abolish the Sugar Tax before it is too late."

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