BevSA outlines alternatives to reduce obesity in Parliament

Wednesday, 07 June 2017 - The Beverage Association of South Africa (BevSA) is in agreement with government that the rate of obesity and non-communicable diseases is too high and needs attention. However, the association believes that this health problem should not be addressed in isolation of the economic problem that faces the country.

The association also acknowledges the contribution of sugar and its effect on the health of the nation. BevSA believes that in order to address this scourge, a comprehensive solution is required as the Sugar Sweetened Beverages account for only 3% of total daily calorie intake compared to other foodstuffs. Presenting to the Standing Committee on Finance and Portfolio Committee on Health in Parliament, on Tuesday 6 June 2017, BevSA outlined alternative measures that needs to be undertaken to reduce obesity and non-communicable diseases.

BevSA believes that the general drivers in obesity rates is overall calories consumption, which has seen a recorded increase from 2816 in 1991 to 3022 calorie consumption per day in 2013 and continues to grow.

This increase can be attributed to the increase in consumption in cereals, vegetable oil and poultry, which indicates a dietary shift towards meat and processed foods and accompanying declining levels of physical activity.

“We believe that while addressing the health challenge, we equally need to address the economic problem of job creation, economic transformation and creation of small business. There is considerable scope to have a high impact on Obesity in a cost-effective way, therefore collaboration by all stakeholders to improve the health of the nation; maintaining existing jobs, creating new ones and supporting industrialisation is key,” says Ms Mapule Ncanywa, Executive Director of Beverage Association of South Africa.

The Sugar Tax does not take into consideration the socio economic impact it will have on the entire value chain. These include farmers, distributors, informal traders and smaller producers. It is estimated that proposed SSB tax will reduce the GDP by R1.85billion and lead to job losses. The largest loss is expected to be experienced in the informal sector where an anticipated 4000-6000 closures of informal outlets where Sugar Sweetened Beverages are estimated to contribute 17% of revenue and 30% of margin to Spaza stores.

“The Sugar Tax levy intends on driving a 0.24%-0.32% calorie reduction however the industry has committed to programmes that we believe will drive a 15% calorie reduction by 2018, which is four time that of the envisioned proposed levy through methods like reformulation and introduction of extended lower or sugar free products. The other options implemented by industry also include reduction of size from 500ml to 440ml, 330 to 300ml and total removal of 2,25L and replaced with 1,25L. Furthermore, the industry has committed to aggressive advertising and marketing of diets, lower to zero sugar products, including the removal of promotional materials directed to children” further said Ms Ncanywa.

BevSA believes that the Health and Promotions Levy should not be implemented in its current form and more time and investigation needs to be taken to allow for proper engagement and consultation among parties across the value chain.

Issued by The Communications Firms on behalf on BevSA

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Posted in Media Release, statements on Jun 03, 2018


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