Supported by thirty six well-known organisations, Royal Colleges and charities, a new campaign ‘Recipe for Change’ is calling on the Government to introduce a new industry levy to make food healthier. The campaign highlights research by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine demonstrating that salt and sugar levies could prevent over 1 million cases of cardiovascular disease (CVD), 571,00 cases of type 2 diabetes, 11,000 cases of cancer and 249,000 cases of respiratory disease.
The campaign argues that levies could raise additional revenues for investment in children’s health and that levies would be worth up to £77.9 to the economy over 25 years through gains in quality adjusted life years. Recent public polling has suggested that 68% of the public would be in favour of the food levies if the revenue was invested in children's health and 73% of the public support action by the Government to require food manufacturers to reduce sugar and salt from everyday foods. The food industry has repeatedly failed to meet previous voluntary salt and sugar targets. The campaign argues that levies would encourage reformulation toward lower sugar and salt recipes. These levies could work either by imposing a fixed rate cost (for example £3/ kg on sugar and £6/ kg on salt as proposed by the National Food Strategy) or by targeting specific non-staple food categories such as confectioneries, desserts and crisps.