Forty three per cent of people say they would buy fewer soft drinks if prices rose by 20 per cent, according to a ComRes poll commissioned by Diabetes UK.
The poll, conducted in January, also showed that 35 per cent of people would switch to water instead.
The poll results show that today’s Budget announcement of a tax on sugary soft drinks should have a positive impact on public health, with people changing their buying habits.
Responding to the news, Chris Askew, Diabetes UK Chief Executive, said: “It is really promising news that the Government has announced a tax on the soft drinks industry. We have been campaigning for this measure as we are all consuming too much sugar. This is contributing to the huge rise we are seeing in the numbers of people who are overweight and obese, and therefore at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. There are already around 3.6 million people in the UK with Type 2 diabetes. This is already a huge health and economic burden for individuals and health systems.
“However, this tax should not be absorbed by the soft drinks industry. Prices need to change otherwise there will be no impact on the health of nation. But manufacturers and consumers could avoid the tax altogether by reducing the amount of sugar in their products. We now look forward to seeing further measures to tackle this crisis in the forthcoming Childhood Obesity Strategy. We would like to see mandatory targets for food manufacturers to reduce levels of salt, fat and sugar in their products, and restrict marketing of junk food to children.”
Currently, almost two thirds of adults in the UK and almost a third of children in the UK in their final year of primary school are overweight or obese, which means that they are at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. This is unlike Type 1 diabetes which is not linked to lifestyle and cannot be prevented.
Many people with Type 1 diabetes use sugar sweetened drinks to treat low blood glucose levels. Diabetes UK will be involved in the consultation on how the sugar tax will be introduced to raise the issue that it should not impact negatively on the way people with diabetes treat their condition.
Public want manufacturers to make products healthier
Previously-released poll results showed that three quarters (75 per cent) of British adults want food manufacturers to reduce the amount of saturated fat, salt and added sugar in their products to make it easier for people to eat more healthily, according to a new survey from Diabetes UK.
Sixty-nine per cent of 18 – 24 year olds say they think food manufacturers should reduce the amount of saturated fat, added sugar and salt in their products and this number rises to 80 per cent of people aged 65 and over, according to a ComRes survey commissioned by the charity. People across all social groups felt equally strongly on the issue, with no difference between people who earned more or less, or whether they worked in the public or private sector.
The charity says it is imperative that the Government implements mandatory targets as it would help to limit calorie intake and so would make it easier for people to eat more healthily. The food industry has reduced levels of salt in food significantly over the last 10 years, and now it’s time for them to tackle high levels of sugar and fat as well.
Along with getting food manufacturers to make their foods healthier and today’s announcement of a tax on soft drinks, Diabetes UK is also calling for restrictions on the marketing of unhealthy foods before the 9pm watershed to reduce exposure to children. These measures are also supported by the Obesity Health Alliance, a grouping of 29 charities and medical organisations, which includes Diabetes UK.
ComRes interviewed 2,036 British adults online between 22nd and 24th January 2016. Data were weighted to be representative of all adults in Great Britain aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Data tables can be found atwww.comres.co.uk.