The introduction of tariffs on food and drink when the UK leaves the European Union could reduce the availability of healthier products, according to Sugarwise.
The international certification authority for sugar has warned that consumers in both mainland Europe and the UK “will find it more difficult to afford lower sugar foods” if new Brexit tariffs are applied. As costs rise, retailers and foodservice operators may also begin to pull the products, Sugarwise warned.
“Slap tariffs on other categories if you want, but allow lower sugar manufactured foods to go and come across the border duty free,” explained Olivia Hudson, head of European relations at the kitemark. “It’s crucial that we get this right: the health of disadvantaged communities across Europe will suffer if taxes are allowed to be levied,” she added.
Sugarwise certifies around 350 food brands (with less than 5g of free sugars per 100g) and drinks (with less than 2.5g per 100ml). The scheme has been running for 18 months in the UK and has just expanded into Europe.
Last week the UK proposed a temporary customs arrangement with the EU after
Brexit. Negotiators in Brussels said the idea remains a “fantasy”.