— Report findings do not reflect Canadian marketplace —
March 16, 2017 (TORONTO) – In response to the report released today, The Health and Economic Impacts of a Sugary Drinks Tax in Canada, the Canadian Beverage Association issued the following statement:
Fiscal interventions like consumption taxes have not proven to be successful in terms of obesity reduction. What works are real, meaningful, coordinated efforts by government, industry, and healthcare and consumer stakeholders to implement evidence-based solutions.
Sound public health policy must be based on the most substantive, rigorous sources of research available. The report findings, however, are based on data that do not reflect the Canadian beverage marketplace. The data set from Euromonitor used in the analysis for this report included non-diet carbonated beverages, along with whole-category volumes (both low calorie and full calorie) for other beverage categories. All of these beverage categories would include some percentage of reduced-calorie varieties, and therefore the reported findings do not reflect the Canadian beverage marketplace, where more than 45% of beverages purchased are no- or low-calorie.
By contrast, The Conference Board of Canada: Balance Calories Baseline Report, organized all beverages into full calorie and reduced calorie categories to reflect the beverages available on store shelves in Canada. The Conference Board report concludes that daily per capita calories consumed through liquid refreshment beverage (LRB), which includes all non-dairy, non-alcoholic beverage categories such as 100% juices, energy drinks, sports drinks, iced teas, etc…, have declined by 20% per capita between 2004-2014. Canadians consume 141 calories from LRB, well under 10% of daily calorie recommendations. In the report released today, if calorie-reduced varieties are excluded, per capita net volume of all non-diet beverages (including flavoured dairy, drinkable yogurts and 100% juices) is 350 ml/day, or about 150 calories/day.
Through the industry-led Balance Calories initiative, Canada’s leading beverage companies have set a goal to reduce beverage calories by a further 20%, an objective that cannot be achieved through projected trends alone.
Regarding the model projections used in the University of Waterloo report, the authors assume a relationship between taxation and lower body mass index. While the beverage industry supports efforts to address serious obesity and obesity-related diseases, it is illogical to isolate one single ingredient or product as a unique contributor. Experts, including Health Canada, agree that the factors associated with these issues are complex, and include overall health behaviours, and broader social, environmental and biological determinants.,
As an industry, we understand we have a role to play in the health of Canadians. We can all work together on solutions for overconsumption, while respecting that for Canadians, LRB calories and sugar from beverages are declining. Canadians continue to consume fewer calories, and calories from sugar, from refreshment beverages than they did in 2004.
The Canadian Beverage Association and its members encourage continued dialogue and a collaborative effort between industry, health organizations, and public officials to develop holistic workable solutions to create lasting change for Canadians.
The Canadian Beverage Association is the national trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute the majority of non-alcoholic refreshment beverages consumed in Canada. For more information, visit: balancecalories.ca and canadianbeverage.ca
Additional background and context:
- Mexico’s 2016 national health and nutrition survey suggests that obesity rates have edged upward among adults in recent years. There has been no demonstrated health benefit to Mexicans from taxation. Also, official government data from Mexico shows increases in sugar-sweetened beverage sales through 2016,  as opposed to the projected decrease suggested by the authors.
- People who drink 100% fruit juice have higher consumption levels of whole fruit than non-fruit juice drinkers.,,, Consuming a certain amount of naturally occurring sugar in a nutritionally beneficial beverage like 100% juice can be part of a healthy diet.
- Aside from traditional carbonated soft drinks, data from Euromonitor do not differentiate between full calorie and low- or no-calorie for major beverage market segments. When volume data pertaining to low- and no-calorie (i.e. diet) beverages is taken into account:
- The absolute volume of non-diet refreshment beverages supplied into the Canadian market actually fell 12.5%, or 22% per capita, between 2004 and 2015.
- Per capita net volume of all non-diet beverages (including flavoured dairy, drinkable yogurts and 100% juices) is 350 ml/day, or about 150 calories/day.
- Newer categories in context: Volume: The University of Waterloo report suggests that decline in total volume of regular sugar-sweetened soft drinks/fruit drinks and 100% juices has been largely offset by increased volumes in newer beverage categories. However, overall there was only one litre of sugar-sweetened volume gained in the UW researchers’ “emergent categories” for every three litres of sugar-sweetened volume lost across the soft drinks, fruit drinks and 100% juice categories.
- Newer categories in context: Per capita: Per capita consumption of non-diet energy drinks, ready-to-drink sweetened coffee, flavoured water, drinkable yogurt, ready-to-drink sweetened teas, flavoured milk and sports drinks increased by only 18ml/day per capita between 2004 to 2015 while per capita consumption of regular sugar-sweetened soft dirnks/fruit drinks and 100% juices declined by 116ml/day per capita between 2004 and 2015. Energy drinks were newly introduced into the Canadian market in 2004, and in 2015 accounted for a 1% share of the total refreshment beverage mix in Canada. This explains the large mathematical percentage increase, but the in-market volumes of this niche beverage product remain low.
 Hall KD, Sacks G, Chandramohan D, et al. Quantification of the effect of energy imbalance on bodyweight. Lancet 2011; 378(9793): 826-37.
 Prince SA, Kristjansson EA, Russell K, et al. Relationships between neighborhoods, physical activity, and obesity: A multilevel analysis of a large Canadian city. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2012; January 19 (epub ahead of print).
 Mozaffarian D, Hao T, Rimm EB, et al. Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in women and men. New England Journal of Medicine 2011; 364(25): 2392-2404.
 Encuesta Nacional de Salud y Nutrición de Medio Camino 2016 Informe final de resultados http://www.epidemiologia.salud.gob.mx/doctos/encuestas/resultados/ENSANUT.pdf
 The Mexican government’s tax receipt data can be reviewed at: http://finanzaspublicas.hacienda.gob.mx/es/Finanzas_Publicas/Estadisticas_Oportunas_de_Finanzas_Publicas.
 O’Neil CE, et al. “Diet quality is positively associated with 100% fruit juice consumption in children and adults in the United States: NHANES 2003-2006”. Nutr J. 2011;10:17
 USDA. “Diet quality of children age 2-17 years as measured by the healthy eating index-2010”. Nutrition Insights. 2013
 O’Neil C, et al. “Fruit juice consumption is associated with improved nutrient adequacy in children and adolescents: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2006”. Public Health Nutr. 2012;15:1871-1878
 O’Neil C, et al. “One hundred percent orange juice consumption is associated with better diet quality, improved nutrient adequacy, and no increased risk for overweight/obesity in children”. Nutr Res. 2011;31:673-682
 Volume is absolute volume shipped, regardless of number of people available to purchase and does not account for changes in population size.
 Per capita takes into account both the volume shipped, and changes in population to correlate changes in consumption.