UK tax on chocolate is on the way

Chocolate pattern background

There’s a new sugar tax coming, and this time the target is chocolate. The news was revealed to Britain’s confectionery industry at the annual chocolate conference last week. This policy is the initiative of Public Health England, and the new tax will take effect by 2020.

DailyMail: Sugar tax on chocolate IS on the way warn Britain’s confectionery firms

The government is also dictating other measures restricting the marketing of chocolate bars: a ban from display at checkouts, elimination of discounts for volume purchases, and mandatory nutrition information clearly printed on the front of all bars.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, continues:

We have seen some of the food industry make good progress, and they should be commended for this. We also know that further progress is in the pipeline. However, tackling the obesity crisis needs the whole food industry to step up, in particular, those businesses that have taken little or no action.

The obesity rates in the UK keep escalating and policymakers are desperately trying to reverse the trend. Is a focus on chocolate the answer?

We are skeptical. Choosing the right kind of chocolate, one with a high-cocoa rate, may even be beneficial to your health. Although chocolate is not truly low carb, one or two thin squares of high-cocoa chocolate (70%+) can, on occasion, fit into a strict low-carb diet. For more liberal low-carb eaters, regular dark chocolate treats are possible. One small thin square (10 grams or about a third of an ounce) of 86% chocolate contains only about 2 grams of net carbs. Switch to 70% chocolate and the net carbs go up to about 3.5 grams per square. In contrast, regular chocolate can be 6 grams of net carbs or more per square — not an option for those eating low carb.

We recently reported that sugar is now the UK consumer’s top worry. Rightly so. But as the UK’s leading chocolate taste tester, Angus Kennedy, points out, candy bars and other desserts aren’t the only sugar source:

If you’re indulging in chocolate, you are aware you’re eating a treat. But 80% of our food in the supermarkets has sugar in [it]. Things some would not be aware of. And that is the side that is slightly unfair I feel.



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  1. B. Reynolds
    Yep, that's why you solve problems with persuasion, not government coercion. They will always get it wrong. It's how we get things like the Dietary Guidelines in the first place.
  2. Catheryn
    If there is a sugar tax it should be levied on all sugar that ends up in the human food chain. This will discourage the use of hidden sugar, which is added to everything from baked beans to salad dressings. But the major solution must be to empower consumers with better information.
  3. Kenrick
    Even with labelling there can still be hidden sugars ...the legislation states that it must be on the label if more than 0.5 gm is that’s just one named sugar ...if you add a veriety of sugars all just below 0.5 gms you can end up with a fair amount of sugar in the product but none of it on the label ...sadly, the food industry has deep pockets when it comes to lobbying UK politicians and the current ruling party is perhaps more welcome to lobbying than say the next Labour Government will be ...but this leads to poor or compromised legislation with plenty of wiggle room for the corporations!


  4. Paul
    Why don’t we start by ending the subsidy on sugar? Instead we could spend those subsity dollars on healthy food.
  5. Dee
    In the U.K. we need To get rid of the eat well plate and the people behind it that are their sponsors.

    In a few years I can see chocolate banned outright sadly. Why should we be dictated to by our government on our choices of food and drink.

    The bogof is usually on crap and we don’t see it on fruit or veg and if it is it’s still too dear for some families.

    We have now become lazy as we can buy food to pop in the microwave and have our dinner in 5 minutes plus supermarkets are open 24/7 no closing and here in the U.K. are open on some of the holidays. All to rake in a profit.

    What will be demonised next watch this space for them saying fat is bad and trying to have that banned oh right they did and we have low fat no fat products that are full of chemicals.

    I can see blackmarket goods soon and one will be sugar among other things

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