Join the movement. #DontTaxHealthy
We are petitioning the government to cut VAT on foods with a reduced sugar nutrition claim to the reduced rate of 5%. Click on the Change.org button to sign.
We've got a problem.
National statistics show that 58% of women and 68% of men are either overweight or obese.*
It's no surprise either; it's cheaper to buy food that's packed full of sugar than healthy food that isn't. Everyone loves enjoying their favourite sweet treats, so consumption of sugary junk food isn't set to change any time soon.
Unless we do something.
It's possible to make indulgent sweet treats without a high sugar content. Although, it’s not easy. It took us 25 months to develop Oppo. Fast forward to 2016 and we have a product which has won a Great Taste Award, but which also contains 60% less sugar than regular ice cream. Healthy indulgence is possible.
The problem is that it's expensive to make healthy food. Sugar is cheap at just 50p per kg, whereas healthier sugar alternatives such as the ingredients we use in Oppo are as high as £11 per kg. We need to level the playing field and make it cheaper to enjoy healthier products.
Sure, George Osborne is going to tax sugary drinks. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. It's approaching the problem from the wrong angle. We should actively encourage consumption of products which have a reduced sugar content. How? Cut the VAT to 5%. Ice cream and most confectionary are currently subject to the 20% standard rate of VAT.
We say that products with a reduced sugar nutrition claim should be subject to the reduced rate of 5%.
The stats speak for themselves. The consumer body Which? recently reported that a majority of UK supermarket promotions were for less healthy foods, and that 29% of UK shoppers said they found it difficult to eat healthily as they think healthier food is more expensive than less healthy food.** But people want to eat more healthily. Mintel have reported that 57% of people would choose to eat ice cream and desserts made with sugar-free sweeteners such as stevia if they cost the same.***
Sure, fresh fruit and veg is VAT zero rated, but fruit will never be a substitute for the craving you have for your favourite sweet treats. If we're serious about reducing national sugar consumption, we need to work with consumer eating habits, not against them.
At Oppo we make a luxury dairy ice cream that has less than 60% of the sugar and calories found in regular ice cream. It's also more expensive, because of the high quality ingredients we use in place of the lashings of sugar found in regular ice cream. Adding VAT on top of this expense means that healthier indulgences like Oppo are out of reach of most regular consumers.
It's now time for the Government to get on board and put their money where their mouth is in supporting the creation of a healthier nation.
If you agree, sign our petition.
* The Health and Social Care Information centre report 2015 and 2016, a National Statistics publication.
** The Grocer report on the Which? Report August 2016, The Grocer, Ian Quinn
*** Research by Mintel: 'Ingredients and the Consumer – Interest in Innovation in Ice Cream and Desserts' - June 2015; and 'Attitudes towards ice cream and desserts, by demographics' March 2016. Both reports involved asking questions to a panel of 2,000 consumers aged over 16 in the UK. It's unbiased and the participants had no knowledge of Oppo or connection with us.