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4 September 2015

Response to Jamie Oliver's "Sugar Rush" Documentary on Channel 4

Response to Jamie Oliver's

Katharine Teague, Head of Advocacy:

It is important to remember that there is no silver bullet when it comes to tackling obesity. We urge policy-makers to be mindful of the unintended consequences of focusing on one type of ingredient. We therefore suggest a cross-departmental taskforce be explored to tackle the complex issue of obesity.

Jamie Oliver has a great track record on campaigning for public good and his commitment to helping further health education.

However, while Jamie’s intentions are clear, Government data shows that, despite a fall in total sugars consumption over the last 14 years, obesity rates continue to rise, proving the complexity of the obesity crisis. Whilst clearly reducing sugars can help people lose or control their weight, we need to look at diet within the context of lifestyle, with the starting point being calories (energy) in and calories (energy) out.

What’s required is collaborative action to find real and workable solutions to the obesity crisis. We are committed to playing our part.

We do not believe that a tax on sugar is the right answer to what is a complicated issue with a multitude of causes. There is no conclusive evidence that a sugar tax will have the desired effect or prompt a change in consumer behaviour.  While tax is often used by governments to reduce consumption of certain consumer goods, in light of decreasing trends of total sugars consumption over the past decade In the UK, we question if a tax would be an appropriate measure.

Notes to editors:

In Denmark, a tax was introduced in 2011 on food containing more than 2.3g of saturated fat which was repealed after just 15 months with no measurable impact on dietary habits.

Recent research by a market research company, Reputation Leader, using a nationally representative sample size of 2,000 across the UK indicates that consumers don’t believe a sugar tax on foods and beverages would help them live a more balanced diet and lifestyle.

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