Amidst mounting pressure to implement some form of sugar tax to counter Britain’s spiralling obesity epidemic Unilever chief Paul Polman has weighed into the debate by saying there is scant evidence such a levy would make a jot of difference.
Unliver, the food giant behind brands such as Wall’s and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream as well as Hellmann’s mayonnaise, suggested that thinking on the matter by the likes of NHS England was ‘too simple’, citing the case of Mexico which has seen no clear improvements despite introducing a similar tax.
Polman has opted to take Unilever down a different path by shrinking its own products such as Magnum and Cornetto ice creams by up to a third, to contain 250 fewer calories per portion.
Polman remarked: “A simple sugar tax would to me be too simple a solution. It would be an easy political solution in the short term, but it would be too simple a solution.
“You need to attack this holistically with a lot of things. Just doing sugar alone has not proven to be the holy grail. It goes way beyond just putting a tax on sugar. Countries like Mexico and others that have done that are actually starting to see that as well.”
It is estimated that two thirds of British adults are now overweight with bad diets singled out as the primary cause, leading to an estimated 4m diabetic patients in Britain.