Not so sweet? Younger adults more hostile to UAE’s sugar tax - YouGov

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

YouGov survey finds younger adults less supportive of UAE’s sugar tax ©Getty Images
YouGov survey finds younger adults less supportive of UAE’s sugar tax ©Getty Images

Related tags Uae sugar tax Soft drinks Energy drinks SSB

Younger adults in the UAE are less supportive of the state’s sugar tax, with 47% of 18-24 year-olds in favour, new research from YouGov shows.

This compares with 56% of people over the age of 25 who were found to support the policy.

The data was collected online by YouGov Omnibus among some 1000 adult respondents in the UAE in October 2019.

The tax came into force on December 1, 2019, and saw sugary drinks slapped with a 50% levy.

Income and gender

The research found that higher income earners were more supportive of the tax implementation.

A total of 66% of high-income earners (more than AED 40,000+ per month) favoured the tax while support amongst those earning AED 5,000 or less per month is considerably lower at 48%.

Men were found to be slightly more supportive (57%) of the tax, compared to women (50%).

Impact on current consumption

YouGov said although the majority of surveyed respondents (61%) were aware of the initiative by the Government, two in five (39%) were not aware of it.

The new tax by the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) is aimed at reducing the consumption of specific goods that are harmful to human health or the environment, including sugary drinks, and cigarettes.

The new excise tax is 50% on carbonated drinks or any product with added sugar or other sweeteners and 100% on tobacco products and energy drinks.

Under the policy, sugary drink products contain sugar or sweeteners, and are produced as either a ready-to-drink beverage or as concentrates, gels, powders, extracts, or any other form that can be converted into a sugary drink product.

YouGov said 54% of respondents think their current consumption of sweetened beverages will reduce or stop with the implementation of the sugar tax.

The other 46% said their current consumption would not be affected.

Impact on the future

Around 67% of people believed the new tax would help to reduce the intake of unhealthy foods and beverages, and 65% believed it can help prevent chronic diseases linked to sugar.

In addition, 73% of respondents felt a greater transparency about a product’s contents will further help consumers make healthy choices.

Of the respondents who supported the tax, 77% agreed on the idea of a complete ban of high sugar drinks in the country.

YouGov said among these group of people, those aged 40 and above (84%) tend to favour a ban more than younger adults between the ages of 18 to 24 years (64%).

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