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Nov 2, 2017 / Richard Hall

Facts behind Jamie’s restaurant sugar levy

The headlines read that a 10 pence levy on sugar-sweetened beverages in 37 Jamie’s Italian restaurants from 1 September 2015 reduced sales by 11.0% after 12 weeks.

What was missing from many reports of the study were a number of contradictory facts and questions.

• Sales recovered by 1.7% in the following 12 weeks.

• What happened since March 2016 ?

• While sugar-sweetened beverage sales had fallen 9.3% at 6 months, sales of diet cola had also dropped by 7.3%.

• More surprisingly, bottled water sales decreased by 6.5% even though its overall market is growing and fruit juice increased by 21.8% even though its overall market is declining. Yet children’s fruit juice was down 9.9%.

Confused ? Well …

• The research didn’t measure other beverage or tap water consumption.

• Nor did it examine the impact of “supporting activity including beverage menu redesign, new products and establishment of a children’s health fund from levy proceeds” plus a dedicated television programme.

So much for the headlines.

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