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From Clean to Clear – How the Sugar Tax Continues to Drive Transparency Within the Drinks Industry


A Look Back at The Sugar Tax

The last few months has been a ‘sugar tax’ free for all, with every health-conscious and social media savvy consumer commenting on the continuous restructure of the beverage sector.  In fact, we even posted a blog about it way back in June last year when the tax was first announced, yet it’s still making a major impact to date.

Innovation in the beverage category has exploded with reduced sugar products running wild through our stores and every brand touting their new creation. This revolution has been welcomed by consumers who desire transparency in everything they consume, which has tested the global drinks industry as a whole.

Low calorie drink sales went up by more than a third in last year’s Defra Food Survey and drinks with a high sugar content have had to reform accordingly.


Through the Looking Glass

But how do we even define the impact the sugar tax is having on the industry? The evolution from ‘clean label’ to ‘clear label’ was coined last year when consumers demanded a term that accurately symbolised their need to understand a product’s entire make up.

If this continues to spiral, we may well lose recognised brands and products entirely, to make way for those more innovative within the health and wellbeing sector. With ¾ of the British population believing that natural products are beneficial to their health, it’s fair to suggest that eventually, brand culture will be entirely focussed on consumer demand and not on the taste or tradition of the product.

In 2015 the soft drinks sector released their plans to reduce 20% of the calorie intake from all products by 2020. Will we be seeing a fruit and veg trolley overtake the likes of the Coca Cola truck at Christmas?


Our Industry

With this issue of transparency now sweeping the industry, consumer psychology has challenged traditional products and forced them to succumb to the harsh realities of a changing sector. The effects of this on all areas of business is a concept that shouldn’t be ignored by consumers and industry leaders alike.

With a quick start to the day converting to a ‘healthy start to the day’, consumers are constantly pressuring the category from all angles.  There has now become a paradox between ‘transparency led consumerism’ and brands remaining faithful to cost, taste, and tradition. Is it possible to cut the sugar content of a Mars bar in half without changing the entire product?

The consumption of certain transparent products has now become the new fashion statement and what type of drink you buy is now being held as highly as the labels you wear. Industry leaders such as Nestlé, Danone and PepsiCo are all beginning to reconsider their products and development strategies to conform to consumer needs.  Consumers should start to make note of the positive impact their behavioural changes are having on the industry as a whole.

With these influential few redesigning their entire portfolio to meet consumer demands, are we due to see a tornado of change amongst others?


How is your business going to combat this issue? We would love to hear your thoughts!



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