Preparing for the New Soft Drink Levy

Businesses need to start preparing now for the UK government’s new sugar levy, which will take effect on April 6, 2018. Designed to help promote a healthier lifestyle and curb rising obesity levels among Brits, this levy aims to encourage soft dink producers to use less sugar or reduce the portion sizes of their drinks.

Under the new levy, soft drink companies will have to pay a charge for drinks that have added and total sugar that exceeds 5 grams per 100 milliliters, which equates to a sugar content of around 5 percent. Those that exceed 8 grams per 100 milliliters, meanwhile, will have to pay an even higher charge. The only exceptions will be pure fruit juices, which don’t contain any added sugar, and those with a high content of milk because they offer other important nutrients like calcium.

Those companies that produce, package or import soft drinks in the UK will need to register for the levy. Manufacturers that want to reformulate products to avoid the levy need to get started now, and this includes getting new Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) for the new products.

Do You Need a New GTIN?

For example, if a drink is reformulated to get rid of added sugar, the new version will need an entirely new GTIN. If a formulation is changed in such a way that the information that must appear by law on the packaging is affected, a new GTIN is also needed. Those that are merely reducing the sugar content, meanwhile, may or may not need a new GTIN depending on the relevant Guiding Principles.

It is also important to keep in mind that allocating a new GTIN will have other effects on your operations. For example, a new barcode will be needed for the product. The pallets and cases will need to be changed, and internal systems must be updated to reflect the changes.

As with any major change in business, advance preparation is the best way to ensure you don’t hit any roadblocks once the new levy goes into effect.

This blog post was based off of an article from GS1 UK. View the original here.

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