by Gemma Benford

Is there a sweet side to soft drinks?

Is there a sweet side to soft drinks?

Meet Gemma Benford, our Category Manager for Snacking, and learn about her perspective on the 2018 sugar levy.


There has been no escape from the recent bad press on sugar as the industry is bracing itself for the government sugar levy on soft drinks on the 6th April 2018.

The government states that nearly a third of children aged 2-15 are overweight or obese and that the NHS in England spent £5.1 billion on overweight and obesity related ill health in 2014/15. As a result the government have put soft drinks under the magnifying glass as one of the prime contributors due to their high levels of sugar and link to over consumption of calories and tooth decay.

“Once the levy comes into effect, soft drinks containing 5-8g of added sugar per 100ml will have a levy of 18p per litre applied and those with 8g and above of added sugar per 100ml will have a levy of 24p per litre applied. This had led to many of the leading manufactures reformulating their recipes to reduce the amount of sugar they contain. The levy will not be applied to drinks where no sugar is added or milk based drinks.

Although the intentions are certainly positive it remains to be seen to what extent the levy will affect consumer purchasing behaviour. Taste is still the number one decision making factor for consumers when choosing a drink out of the home*, so it is important caterers stock a mix of full and low or no sugar options to give consumers choice and options to appeal to all. *Britvic Health research 2017




Want to get ahead of the sugar tax? Here are my top tips:


  • Give your customers choice – make sure you have the right range available including full sugar options if these are required by your customers
  • Check the Bidfood range as we have over 100 drinks in our range that are below the levy threshold
  • Use menu call outs to highlight healthier and low sugar drink options
  • Look out for exciting new brands with low sugar. We are working with brands like Ugly who produce flavoured sparkling water with no added sugar, sweeteners or artificial flavourings

We will continue to support our customers in navigating the new rules and providing appropriate ranges. Keep an eye on our website for own brand options and other updates.

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