The impact of UK soft drinks industry levy on manufacturers' domestic turnover

Econ Hum Biol. 2020 May;37:100866. doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2020.100866. Epub 2020 Feb 20.


In March 2016, the UK government announced the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) which came into effect in April 2018. In common with the reaction to sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes in other countries, the SDIL announcement was met with strong industry opposition, with claims that it would harm their profits. The SDIL was designed to incentivise reformulation of SSBs by providing a 2-year delay between the announcement and the enforcement of the levy, and adopting a two-tiered rate based on the sugar content of the drinks. Using interrupted time series analysis, this paper examines how the domestic turnover of UK soft drinks manufacturers changed after the announcement and the implementation of the SDIL. Our results show some evidence of a short-term negative impact of the SDIL announcement on the domestic turnover of the UK soft drinks manufacturers. This effect, however, did not continue post-implementation. These findings suggest that manufacturers were, to a large extent, able to mitigate the effects of levy before it came into effect.

Keywords: Soda tax; Soft drinks industry levy; Sugar; Tax impact.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbonated Beverages / economics*
  • Carbonated Beverages / statistics & numerical data*
  • Food Industry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Interrupted Time Series Analysis
  • Taxes / statistics & numerical data*
  • United Kingdom