In 2018, Public Health England and the UK House of Parliament introduced a soft drinks industry levy to reduce the amount of sugar in sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). In addition to the positive results coming from the levy, in January 2019 the UK Government opened a consultation to consider regulating the use of price promotions on foods high in fat, sugar, and salt content. The levy and the banning of promotions could have similar effects (i.e., to potentially increase the product price); however, there is no study comparing their ex-ante effectiveness in reducing sugar consumption and even less their distributional impact.
Authors from The Rowett Institute at the University of Aberdeen compare the effect and distributional impact of the measures. To achieve this, authors estimated an EASI demand model using scanner panel data for Scotland for the period 2013 to 2017 (i.e., before the introduction of the levy). The results from the present study show that banning promotions on soft drinks would be more effective in reducing energy and sugar purchases than the soft drinks levy. The effectiveness of either policy varies by income, life stage, location, and degree of deprivation in Scotland.
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