Tesco won’t raise soft drink prices after sugar tax

By Geoff Percival

Tesco Ireland has said it will not increase the prices of its own-brand carbonated soft drinks after the introduction of the new sugar tax next month.

The retailer said all the soft drinks it sells under its own label, as opposed to those of rival larger brands, have been reformulated and their sugar content reduced. As a result, Tesco’s own-label fizzy drink range is under the taxable threshold.

“Our customers have made it clear to us that they want healthier options available and we are adapting to meet their needs.

“Over the last decade, we’ve been working in partnership with our suppliers to make our own-label soft drinks healthier, by reformulating them to reduce sugar content,” said Tesco Ireland corporate affairs director Christine Heffernan.

The Government is set to launch its sugar tax at the start of May, having put it back from this month.

The levy will apply to sugar-sweetened drinks with a sugar content of 5gm to 8gm per 100ml, at a rate of 20c. The tax is set to bring in €40m per year for the exchequer.

Tesco yesterday communicated a similar line on own-label drinks prices for the UK, which sees its new sugar tax introduced on Friday.

Tesco, which has 28% market share in the UK, says 85% of the drinks sold in its stores will be exempt from the UK charge although some brand prices will rise.

The supermarket said that the work it has done on lowering the sugar content in its own-label drinks products has resulted in it cutting more than nine billion calories from customers’ annual diets.

The company’s share price was marginally down yesterday.

- Additional reporting Reuters

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