Pioneer Foods: Don't subject fruit juice to sugar tax

The company says 100% fruit juices complement healthy eating and cannot be equated to sugary drinks.

Picture: Pixabay.com.

CAPE TOWN - Pioneer Foods has argued fruit juice should not be subjected to tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

A parliamentary committee is holding another round of public hearings on the proposal today.

Pioneer Foods says 100% fruit juices complement healthy eating and cannot be equated to sugary drinks.

Pioneer Foods, which represents major fruit juice brands, says while it acknowledges drinking juice does not replace eating fresh fruit, it does help people achieve fruit and vegetable intake targets in their diets.

Fruit juices are currently not included in a proposal to tax sugary drinks.

Pioneer Foods’ Martin Neethling says it’s committed to assisting the Department of Health in encouraging healthy eating habits, but taxing its products will have the opposite effect.

“We don’t put anything else in there. The sugar comes naturally from the fruit and the rest of it is water and phytonutrients.”

The Consumer Goods Council says taxation has not proven to be a global solution to obesity and more studies are needed to determine its potential benefits to South Africa.