GTT member and resident economist James Mackintosh says the overconsumption of sugar has become a major issue in society.
“Monetising the impact of sugar as opposed to the product (e.g. Coca Cola) at a dollar-per-gram level and implying causation over other factors is problematic,” he said.
“I would favor a manufactured good tax on products containing sugar over a certain level, rather than a commodity-based tax.
“Then you can link the product to the tax, as opposed to the commodity, as is the case with cigarettes and alcohol.”
Daniel says, in his opinion, a tax will not necessarily reduce the amount of sugar people consume.
“I’m not convinced a sugar tax is going to change the deep-rooted emotional dependency many people have on sugar,” he said.
“Like many foods that might not be nutritionally beneficial to us, there is a cultural paradigm where, like alcohol, we use/abuse sugar in different social situations.
“Most of the time we don’t use sugar to our advantage, even though we might think we are, by consuming it to make us feel better or conversely to celebrate.”
However, Daniel says sugar, and even refined sugar, is not inherently evil.
“It’s remiss of me to say that sugar is the single cause of the massive health issues facing Australians and that “quitting sugar” or taxing sugar is the absolute answer,” he said.
“The amount of sugar we consume is context specific, so it’s really ignorant when “experts” like Sarah Wilson say that everyone should only consume around 20 grams of sugar per day.”