Much has been reported over the past 24 hours about the proposed “Sugar tax’. Those in the soft drinks industry claim they are being singled out while other products like chocolate and sweets are left alone. As with any tax, there will be winners and losers; yes Mr Osborne may get more money to distribute for school sports, and yes the soft drink manufacturers will no doubt pass the increase on to the consumer, however it is a move in the right direction.
As Jonathan Hart, Chief Executive of the Automatic Vending Association, points out in his statement, “The changes announced in the Budget must now also be further supported by better education around nutrition, rather than penalising the soft drinks industry any further. Only this will achieve long lasting results, ultimately helping consumers to make educated, well-informed choices and maintain a healthy diet.”
This is a view that we have supported and practiced for a long time. Indeed, on Monday this week we conducted our latest sampling session of healthy products for consideration in our vending machines. We always ensure we provide choice, and increasingly the retail space is filled with a wider selection of healthy nutritional snacks and drinks. Indeed, 58% of the bottled drinks sold from our machines are either sugar free or fruit juices. We have certainly found a big move towards healthy products. So, we do think people are starting to appreciate the benefits of healthy eating, however it is just the start.
Sugar tax may encourage people to stop and consider a cheaper but healthier option, however it is the availability of good quality healthy alternatives that will ultimately help to get them making the right choices. At Excel, we strive to bring the latest and best of new healthy products to our customers – and believe us, there are many! Monday’s sampling session was, as usual, a popular event in the office, it revealed a few new additions that you will see in our vending machines soon.
This is not a new initiative for Excel, we have been providing healthy choices in our machines for a long time now; indeed, many of our sites in NHS and school buildings are exclusively healthy offerings. For us, it is part of the Excel culture, hopefully it will become part of the nation’s culture too.