Health experts have hinted at the idea of a ‘pudding tax’ to tackle the high rates of sugar consumption in the UK.
In April 2018 the sugar tax levy was introduced applying to fizzy drinks. This tax is applied to manufacturers, with 457 producers registered for the levy. Drinks with more than 8g per 100ml face a tax rate equivalent to 24p per litre. This government income is reinvested into school sports and breakfast clubs, which is fantastic news for the education sector.
The recommended maximum daily sugar intake for 7-10 year olds, for example, is 6 cubes. The typical 500ml energy drinks is the equivalent to 13 cubes of sugar and a 330ml bottle of cola is 9 cubes. Statistics like this are why the tax levy was introduced in the first place.
The fizzy drinks tax is not the only ‘food group’ being targeted. There have been reports of a separate government initiative, encouraging manufacturers to reduce voluntarily sugar content of certain items. In 2017 Public Health England launched a reduction programme to cut the amount of sugar by a fifth by 2020. Many different food groups were identified, puddings being one of them. To hit this initiative the food industry has been tasked with not only producing lower-sugar alternatives, but also persuading consumers to buy more of them.
As a contract caterer it is important that we take note of the initiatives in place and ensure we are doing as much as possible to stick to the guidance, as well as manufacturers. We aim to reduce refined sugar in our recipes where possible; we like to use a good balance of natural ingredients to sweeten our recipes.
It’s incredibly important, for young people especially, to have a healthy and balanced diet full of natural and fresh ingredients. We asked our Executive Chef, Ian Southwell, what we can put in our recipes as an alternative to sugar, he said: “There are a number of substitutes out there but the most natural is whole fruit and vegetables… have you tried our sweet potato muffin or beetroot brownie recipe? Using fruit and vegetables in the whole form means you will benefit from the valuable nutrients they contain.
Fruit is so adaptable, it just takes some trial and error when you first start using it as an alternative. But with most things in food, moderation is key! Dried fruits such as dates, or natural honey can also be a great source of sweetness – again in moderation!”
So, do we think pudding tax will happen? Watch this space, it is reported that there is a desire to see how the sugar reduction initiative programme goes first and there has already been progress reported which is available here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-44214020 a second report is due out later this year.
Until then, why not give our healthy options a go and try whole fruit or vegetables next time you are doing some baking.
For more information on how to reduce sugar in your recipes, please get in touch via any of the below platforms.