Sugar tax is no obesity cure: CC Amatil
A tax on sugary beverages isn't the answer to obesity and will cost jobs in manufacturing, the head of Coca-Cola Amatil says.
Managing director Alison Watkins said the beverage giant considers obesity a major epidemic, but a tax is not the cure, given consumption of added sugar has decreased in the past twenty years, and quite dramatically in the case of children.
"I think it is pretty clear that a sugar tax as such won't address obesity and it won't solve obesity," she said at company's annual general meeting on Wednesday.
"It is hard yards being an Australian manufacturer these days.
"We are concerned about the impact on our industry - not only our own manufacturing but suppliers to our industry as well.
"We think it would hurt and we are certainly opposed to it."
She said many countries have introduced a sugar tax, where beverage manufacturers are taxed according to the volume of sugar-sweetened drinks they produce or import, but the focus has been on raising revenue rather than reducing obesity.
About one in four Australians are obese, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics from 2014/15.
Coca-Cola Amatil, which distributes drinks including Coca-Cola, Powerade and Mother, said it is committed to reducing the sugar content across its portfolio of sales in Australia and New Zealand by 10 per cent by 2020, and that it supports the World Health Organisation's sugar targets.
It has already reformulated and reduced sugar content and kilojoules in 22 products in Australia since 2015, with every major carbonated soft drink brand now including a low, or no-sugar, option.
While the major government parties are currently not in support of a sugar tax, Ms Watkins said the company is "absolutely prepared" if there were a sudden change of heart.
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