Newcastle University academics say sugar tax on cereals would discourage customers

A study by Newcastle University shows a 20 % sugar tax could discourage shoppers from buying unhealthy breakfast cereals.

Researchers found demand for sugary cereals fell by 48 per cent if consumers knew a tax was being applied.

The study, carried out by experts from Newcastle, York and Anglia Ruskin Universities, examined the impact of both a 20% and 40% tax on unhealthier cereals and soft drinks containing sugar. It also looked at whether telling people they were being taxed influenced the way they shopped.

People taking part in the study and were given a budget of £10 to spend on soft drinks and cereals. The products were classed by researchers as healthier or less healthy, depending upon their nutritional value.

Lead researcher, Daniel Zizzo, Professor of Economics at Newcastle University Business School, said:

Credit: : Steve Parsons/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Our findings suggest a 20% sugar tax would work and lead to large changes in shopping behaviour.

We know the Government is already introducing a sugar levy on fizzy drinks in 2018," said Professor Zizzo. "Our evidence shows that it could be applied to other products successfully, though I expect the size of the effect to be smaller than what we found in our study."

– Daniel Zizzo, Professor of Economics at Newcastle University Business School