Sweet results for charity’s sugar tax initiative

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An innovative approach by Sheffield City Trust to broaden knowledge on the importance of nutrition and exercise is already bearing fruit.

The health and wellbeing charity, which operates 13 sports and leisure venues in Sheffield, confronted the challenge of sugary drinks head on by adding a 20p charge to all drinks with added sugar sold at cafes and vending machines at its SIV leisure facilities.

The move, which was in response the government’s sugar tax initiative on unhealthy fizzy drinks, has seen remarkable results.

Independent figures from the University of Sheffield show that there has been a 30 per cent reduction in sugar intake across the city.

In less than nine months there has been an 11 per cent swing towards purchasing low and non-sugar drinks at SIV venues at a time when overall drinks sales increased.

Current response levels indicate that SIV is on course to remove 1.3 tonnes of sugar – the equivalent of

• 332,750 teaspoons of sugar

• 1,472 lbs fat – about 105 stone in weight

• More than five million calories, which to burn off would take. Over 51,000 miles of walking. Over 10,000 spin classes or 1 hour swims. Over 6,000 hours of 5-a-side. Over 31,000 hours of housework

So far, the initiative has raised more than £10,000 from sales of high sugar drinks. SIV will reinvest every penny in obesity and diabetes prevention programmes for young people, pledging a minimum of £25,000 to the initiative.

SIV have also teamed up with Children’s Food Trust to offer a new summer holiday camp with a twist. Eat Well, Move More! is a new initiative where children will learn how to cook a healthy meal and play a range of sports throughout the day.

Greg Fell, Sheffield’s Director of Public Health, said: “I congratulate SIV on their pioneering work. They are well ahead of the field here, and I look forward to working with other organisations in the city to follow their example.”