Image: Kees Beyers, founder and CEO of Beyers Chocolates.

JOHANNESBURG - The Health Promotion Levy was signed into law which means that consumers will officially be paying tax on sugar-sweetened beverages from April 2018.  

READ ALSO: Parliament passes bill on sugary drinks tax

While the tax forms part of the government’s efforts to decrease excessive sugar intake, to prevent and control diabetes, obesity and other non-communicable diseases, many beverage businesses and unions have expressed concerns about job losses in the sector. 

“Sugar taxes are gaining momentum in countries around the world, however, the focus, for now, is on sugar-sweetened beverages,” says Kees Beyers, founder and CEO of Beyers Chocolates. 

“With the growth of the health-conscious consumer, it makes sense that the confectionery industry is next in line, which is why companies should act now before being forced to by legislators”, says Beyers. 

Beyers suggests that confectioners explore low-sugar and sugar-free products, which will appeal to consumers who still want to eat and enjoy their chocolate - without feeling guilty.

“While South Africans have a sweeter palate than Europeans, they’re also looking for healthier alternatives which contain less sugar. One of the biggest trends we’ll see this year in the confectionery industry, is a growing demand for high-cocoa, low-sugar products. Expect dark chocolate sales to increase in 2018,” says Beyers.

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE