The Chief Executive of the Automatic Vending Association (AVA), Jonathan Hart, recently wrote to the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, to outline industry concerns about the potential introduction of a sugar tax.
In the letter, Jonathan Hart wrote: “We firmly believe that tackling obesity will take a long-term strategy that focuses on encouraging behavioural change rather than introducing unproven red tape and regulation. A sugar tax would unfairly penalise an industry which looks to the Government for its support, not for hindrances.
“Vending is an extremely important industry to the UK, providing secure, 24 hour access to drinks and food in places where staffing is often not an option. Introducing a sugar tax would hit the sales of our most popular current brands at a time when many low sugar products are not selling in large numbers and so the vending industry would be hit twice.”
The AVA calls for:
- Consumers to be given greater information about maintaining a healthy diet where products like fizzy drinks and chocolate can be enjoyed in moderation
- Greater transparency about the “secret sugar” that consumers are not aware they are eating in products like bread, cereal, sauces and ready meals
- Encouragement to be given to product manufacturers to create low sugar offerings which are regarded not just as possible alternatives but as desired first choices. As a result, these would be accessible to be enjoyed at all times of the day in vending machines and – importantly – would be popular.