New research reveals about young adults and healthy food and drink

January 19, 2017, 10:00 am

New YouGov research released this morning by #DontTaxHealthy to coincide with National Obesity Week (9th-15th January), reveals:

  • 68% of UK adults find healthy food and drink more expensive than those not marked as healthy.
  • A staggering 40% of 18-34 year olds, 30% across all age groups, said they cannot afford to purchase healthy food and drink because they are more expensive than other products.The cost of eating healthily is contributing to the obesity crisis in the UK where, per National Statistics, 58% of women and 65% of men are overweight or obese (NHS, 2013).Almost two thirds of households (62%) say they are very or fairly concerned about sugar consumption, higher than any other ingredient and up 41% on last year (Kantar, 2016).This new research released by #DontTaxHealthy shows that shoppers, despite being concerned about sugar, cannot afford to remove it from their shopping basket.

    This is a problem that the Sugar Tax will not solve.

    #DontTaxHealthy are petitioning the government to change this through cutting VAT to the reduced rate of 5% on all lower sugar food and drink.

    Reductions from the standard 20% rate are typically granted when there is a social benefit for doing so. #DontTaxHealthy argue that the indirect cost and impact of obesity to the UK economy, estimated at £27 billion per year (Kantar, 2016), shows there is a clear social benefit and responsibility to make it cheaper to choose healthy.

    Tam Fry, Spokesperson for the National Obesity Forum: “Both the food & drink industry and the UK government have a responsibility to encourage, rather than deter, healthier choices. The research released by #DontTaxHealthy clearly shows that shoppers in the UK find healthy food and drink more expensive. Price acts as a barrier to healthier purchases. We need to remove this.”

    Created by the founders of OPPO, a UK based healthy ice cream company, and Sugarwise, the new certification for lower sugar food and drink, #DontTaxHealthy has already received over 3000 signatures and the support of over 45 brands across the food, health and wellness industries, along with the National Obesity Forum.

    The campaign recognises that the Sugar Tax is a step forward in preventing obesity however #DontTaxHealthy believes that instead of punishing sugar intake, we should incentivise the consumption of food and drink with lower sugar by cutting VAT on these products to make them more affordable.

    Charlie and Harry Thuillier, #DontTaxHealthy Campaign Founders and OPPO ice cream owners: “It’s ridiculous that British people are being taxed for making healthy food choices at a time when obesity and type 2 diabetes are costing the NHS £16 billion per year. The Government recently announced its Sugar Strategy however it didn’t provide any real, tangible solutions. #DontTaxHealthy is a solution based campaign, backed by a large group of brands and influencers, that aims to incentivise consumers to buy healthy by making products cheaper and more accessible. Lower sugar alternatives should not be reserved for wealthy deli and health food store shoppers but should be at a price point that is accessible for everyone.”

    Rend Platings, #DontTaxHealthy Campaign Co-Founder and CEO of Sugarwise: “For too long healthy low-sugar options have only been an option for the privileged few. This petition will make a serious difference to the availability and affordability of lower sugar products. This in turn will incentivise manufacturers to continue innovating so they can reduce their sugar content and will encourage retailers to stock these healthier products on their shelves. The result, more shoppers across the UK will be able to afford to purchase healthier products.”


Related articles

< back to news


Join our mailing list and we'll update you with the latest news within food and drink and keep you up to speed with what's being planned for our industry-leading events:

Read our privacy policy.

Thank you for subscribing