Shoppers hugely misunderstand sugar tax

Retail experts Nielsen recently surveyed 539 adults from across the UK and found that the vast majority incorrectly think the sugar tax applies to far more products than just soft drinks.

Eight in 10 of those surveyed were aware of a potential new sugar tax, but not one respondent correctly identified that the tax only applies to sugary soft drinks.

Two-thirds incorrectly thought it applies to sweets/ sugared confectionary, 59% mistakenly cited chocolate and similar numbers for biscuits (57%) and cakes (56%).

Overall, the average person believes it applies to at least four product categories, while 28% don’t think it applies to soft drinks.

Sophie Jones, senior shopper analytics consultant at Nielsen, said: “Currently, there’s a huge misunderstanding about what products the sugar tax affects, so when it comes in, the government, manufacturers and retailers have an enormous education job on their hands to avoid unforeseen consequences beyond fizzy drinks.

“Most notably, in high-sugar categories where shoppers incorrectly think prices have gone up or, indeed, any other category where people may offset the higher price of fizzy drinks by buying less of other things.”

Only 54% of respondents said they thought the introduction of the tax will help fight obesity.