BNR – The CEO of one of the largest food companies in the UK has called for greater taxes on salty, fatty, and sugary unhealthy food items.
According to James Mayer, who heads Danone in the UK and Ireland, food manufacturers have not demonstrated enough willingness to adjust.
The French company is known for its yoghurt products, but it owns Evian and Volvic bottled water companies. According to Mayer, such taxes would impact barely 10% of Danone’s existing products.
“The UK food industry’s efforts to improve the health profile of its products have not moved fast enough,” said Mayer. He went on to say that it was about time for the government to step in.
In 2018, the United Kingdom imposed a “sugar tax” on sugary beverages. It has, however, rejected more recent suggestions to levy more taxes on other unhealthy food items. It instead depended on manufacturers to participate in voluntary salt, fat, and sugar reduction efforts.
Food prices have risen dramatically in the recent year, making it harder to justify greater taxes.
Debate Over Unhealthy Food Taxes
The food business has repeatedly fought against such levies, claiming that they will raise costs. Advocates of the idea, on the other hand, suggest that tax funds may be employed to promote healthy eating habits.
According to a representative for the Department of Health and Social Care, the government has taken “firm action” to combat unhealthy food. The government will continue to collaborate closely with industry, the representative said.
Last year, the government imposed rules on where unhealthy food might be exhibited in stores.
A prohibition on unhealthy food ads on television before 9 pm has been delayed until October 2025. This is done in order to give companies more time to get ready for the limitations.
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) stated that vendors were dedicated to enhancing the “nutritional profile” of their goods. They now provide a variety of serving sizes. As a consequence, compared to 2018, the typical shopping basket had 13% fewer calories, 15% fewer sugars, and 24% less salt.
Mayer stated that Danone UK and Ireland has committed to keeping 90% of its product line below the fat, salt, and sugar criteria.