Whilst the decision to place a tax on manufacturers that
helps fund primary school health and fitness initiatives can only be seen as a
sensible move, the educational piece that could and should have been added to
this remit is missing. With news this morning that we have more obese adults in the world than are underweight, the Government here will be under even more pressure to create a fast-acting tipping point.
Our industry has been gearing up and changing formulations
for some time now and not just in the drinks sector either, so it is now important to
see how much further the Government and industry can push an educational
message to consumers to combat the obesity crisis.
One change in one area is
progress, but without effective education on balanced diets and exercise, as
Mexico has shown, it can only go so far to changing behaviour.
In the longer term, if some brands choose not to
reformulate, overall prices of soft drinks may be only mildly affected. The
challenge then becomes how promotions and brand communications can be used to
positively change consumption habits.
At the IPM, the industry initiative on obesity and the wider
impact on children’s health is critical, and taken very seriously. As part of
the CAP committee, we are actively supporting the role of advertising and
marketing to help bring about the changes needed.
The IPM believes its Members
take a responsible approach already, and all seek to actively uphold CAP and
IPM standards in this regard. Furthermore, the IPM has committed time and
resource collaborating with other industry partners and bodies, to look at the
challenges facing both industry and consumers and to find a workable,
responsible solution for all parties. We will be seeking comment from our Members in this area and CAP are launching public consultation shortly.