Sweet: South Africa’s Sugar Tax Is Paying Off

South Africa’s sugar tax is working, reducing sugary drink purchases by 28% since 2018, offering a key means to address the country’s sky-high levels of diabetes and obesity. 

But still:

  • ~1 in 8 South African adults—4.5-million+—are diabetic 
  • More than a quarter live with obesity

Karen Hofman, an author of a tax impact study last May, suggests next steps:

  • Hike the tax from 11% to the WHO-recommended 20%
  • Mandate front-of-package labeling
  • Ban junk food marketing to children

But since the government “reached an agreement with the sugar industry,” it has been balking on increasing the tax, says Hofman  


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