YUSU Bars opts for diet drinks in Sugar Tax’s wake

[Image: Max Pixel]

Vendors, bars, and restaurants across the United Kingdom have been implementing the country-wide sugar tax on soft drinks, including the bars on campus run by YUSU, increasing the price of fizzy drinks in particular. With the levy, the UK joins a small club of nations who have implemented similar policies including France, Mexico, and Norway. Television chef Jamie Oliver, who campaigned vigorously for the imposition, called it “a tax for love”.

The tax came into effect in early April, having been proposed by the government as a means of helping combat the obesity crisis sweeping through the UK. Drinks that contain more than 8g of sugar per 100ml will be taxed at 24p per litre, whilst soft drinks containing 5–8g per 100ml are taxed at 18p per litre. The resulting funds of this are expected to raise £240 million, a decrease from the original expectation of £500 million. This money will then be invested into school sports and healthy school breakfast clubs.

Many companies producing popular drinks such as Fanta, Ribe-na and Lucozade worked to reduce their sugar content ahead of the tax being introduced, with 50 per cent of all drinks seeing a reduction in sugar levels before the tax came into place. Advocates of the policy have already hailed these reductions as evidence of success. Coca-Cola, however, opted not to reduce the sugar content of their line.

On campus, the YUSU bars or cafes will no longer be serve original Coca-Cola on their post-mix taps, but instead will serve the less sugary Coke-Zero or Diet Coke. Cokes will be served in glass bottles, now costing £2 rather than the previous £1.30 from the tap, though plastic bottles are available for £1.50 from Glasshouse. Coca-Cola’s regular soda contains around 10.5g of sugar per 100ml, whilst competitor Pepsi reaches 11g per 100ml.

Children are the prime target of this tax, with statistics indicating that children drink up to a bathtub’s worth of sugary drinks per year, around 80 gallons. Obesity in general in the UK has also been a major concern for policy makers, with the NHS admitting over 600,000 obesity related cases in 2017. The UK government hopes that this tax will be an effective measure to begin to deal with the issue.