The Irish Beverage Council, the Ibec group that represents soft drinks companies, announced that three quarters of soft drinks sold in Ireland are sugar tax free. This is due to industry’s 35-year journey to reduce sugar content in drinks. A new sugar sweetened drink tax will be introduced on the 1 May 2018.
Irish Beverage Council Director, Colm Jordan, said: ““Soft drinks companies were early movers in sugar reduction, beginning in 1983 when the first sugar free carbonated drinks were introduced. Since the 1990’s, the number of no-sugar drinks has increased substantially. Consumers want to manage their sugar intake and that is why the industry is investing in innovative new products to match evolving tastes.
“We accept the Government's sincerity in addressing the complex issue of obesity, and are committed to working on shared solutions that deliver real public health benefits. 76 percent of soft drinks are now sugar tax free.
“In Ireland, 10 billion calories have been removed annually between 2005 and 2012 through voluntary sugar reduction in soft drinks. That is a 10 percent reduction in seven years. Today, soft drinks represent less than 3 percent of Ireland’s calorific intake.
“The sugar sweetened drink tax, passed in the last budget, will come into force this Tuesday, 1st May. The Government’s Health Impact Assessment found no conclusive evidence a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks will impact population weight. Wherever a tax has been introduced it has failed to tackle obesity. Notwithstanding this, we have co-operated fully with the design and implementation of the tax.”