The hard right and big food corps will insist government has no role to play in regulating business or behavior–and that is self-serving rubbish. Thinking people appreciate that, as we do with alcohol and cigarettes, an intelligent society must deter the consumption of food and drink that poison our children, compound public health costs and degrade the long term productivity of our work force. The UK, increasingly crippled by widespread obesity, is beginning to see the light. Chef Jamie Oliver has been helping to lead this charge; well done.
Companies that profit from Britain’s sweet tooth plunged as U.K. Chancellor George Osborne unveiled a sugar tax, a surprise move that adds another burden to U.K. food and beverage companies already grappling with marketing restrictions and a shift toward healthier fare. Soft-drink makers Britvic Plc and A.G. Barr Plc both declined more than 5 percent in London, while Tate & Lyle Plc and Associated British Foods Plc fell as much as 4.9 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Celebrity Chef and food campaigner Jamie Oliver reacted to the news with Bloomberg’s Anna Edwards outside Westminster where the budget speech took place. Here is a direct video link.