Sugar tax, warning labels, ad curbs in other nations

What have other countries done to curb sugar consumption, and how has it worked out for them?

Some countries, such as Mexico and Brunei, have a sugar tax.

In Mexico, a study found that purchases of sugary drinks dropped by 5.5 per cent in the first year after the tax was introduced in October 2013. This was followed by a 9.7 per cent drop the following year.

However, the effect on overall health has yet to be determined.

Interestingly, one of the earliest countries to implement a tax on soft drinks - Denmark - repealed it in 2014.

The soft-drink tax had been in place since the 1930s, and earned the Danish government some 450 million krone (S$97 million) in annual revenue.

However, it also resulted in a yearly loss of about 290 million krone due to illegal soft-drink sales and people heading to neighbouring countries to buy cheaper soft drinks.

In San Francisco, a law was recently passed making it necessary to put warning labels on all advertisements for sugary beverages.

Drink makers contested the ruling but lost, and other states are now considering similar measures.

And in Britain, it is now illegal to advertise junk food in media targeted at children. This includes food or drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar.

Linette Lai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2017, with the headline 'Sugar tax, warning labels, ad curbs in other nations'. Print Edition | Subscribe