Expert: Fears of job losses over sugar tax exaggerated

Professor Frank Chaloupka says his research has shown that a change in consumer behaviour could in fact lead to job creation in other sectors.

Picture: Freeimages.com

CAPE TOWN - An expert has told Parliament that fears of job losses because of a sugar tax are generally exaggerated by industry.

Professor Frank Chaloupka says his research in the US and Mexico has shown that a change in consumer behaviour could in fact lead to job creation in other sectors.

MPs say they are concerned a sugar tax will impact on the poor and lead to job losses, saying government should focus on regulating sugar content instead.

But Chaploupka says a sugar tax will generate revenue to support health initiatives.

“What we saw was this wouldn’t lead to job loses. If anything what it does is in the end results in a small net increase in jobs.”

FRUIT JUICES ASSOCIATION ‘HAPPY’

The Fruit Juices Association says it supports government's proposal to exclude its products from a proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

The association told Parliament's public hearings on the matter that their products are natural, have nutritional benefits and should therefore not be penalised.

The association is also concerned about potential job losses, especially in the orange growing industry in Tzaneen.

General manager Rudi Richards says his industry would want to avoid price increases to lower income groups.

“A fruit juice is exactly the same, it has sugar but it also has nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. I’m sure nobody is suggesting that we should tax intrinsic sugars in a fresh apple.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)