UK Shoppers Have 'Huge Misunderstanding' Of Sugar Tax: Nielsen

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UK Shoppers Have 'Huge Misunderstanding' Of Sugar Tax: Nielsen

Nearly 80% of shoppers are aware of the potential new sugar tax in the UK, but the majority incorrectly think it applies to more than just soft drinks, according to the latest retail data from Nielsen.

Two-thirds of those surveyed believed the tax would apply to sweets and confectionery, 59% thought chocolate, 57% for biscuits, and 56% cakes. 28% of people did not think it applied to soft drinks - the only category that will be affected by the tax.


“Currently, there’s a huge misunderstanding about what products the sugar tax affects, so when it comes in, the government, manufacturers and retailers have an enormous education job on their hands to avoid unforeseen consequences beyond fizzy drinks,” said Sophie Jones, senior shopper analytics consultant at Nielsen.

“Most notably, in high-sugar categories where shoppers incorrectly think prices have gone up or, indeed, any other category where people may offset the higher price of fizzy drinks by buying less of other things.”


When asked what effect a tax on soft drinks would have on people's behaviour, 47% said it wouldn't have any effect and 11% would switch to cheaper brands. Only 23% of those surveyed said they would buy less soft drinks, and 13% would stop buying them altogether.


The data shows that the tax is more likely to effect younger consumers, with 41% of 18-24 years olds saying they would buy less or no soft drinks, compared with 35% of 35-54 year olds, and 32% of those above 55.

“Brands who target younger people clearly have the most to lose from the tax so they’ll have to work much harder to keep these consumers, such as offering low-calorie variants,” said Jones.

© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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