Britons support higher taxes on foods that are high in sugar and salt

Camilla WaldenYouGov Daily Editor
July 15, 2021, 4:04 PM UTC

A government-commissioned review of the food we eat, the National Food Study, reported on some of its findings earlier today. One of the most prominent suggestions is that foods particularly high in salt and sugar should be taxed at a higher rate, with the money raised spent on expanding free school meals and helping the poorest families eat more healthily. 

The Prime Minister has since said he is not attracted to proposals for a higher tax on these foods, saying he did not want to impact hard-working people. However, a new YouGov poll finds that 56% of Britons support the idea, with 22% showing strong support and 34% saying they ‘somewhat support’ the policy suggestion. 

A third of Britons (33%) oppose the idea, and one in ten (10%) say they don’t know. 

Labour voters (70%) are more likely than Conservative voters (48%) to support the suggestion. There are also splits along social grade - 61% of ABC1 Britons - who generally live in professional, white-collar households - support the proposal, compared to 51% of C2DE Britons, i.e. those in more manual occupations. 

Most Britons would take fruit and vegetables on prescription over pills 

Another proposal in the report was that GPs should be able to prescribe fruit and vegetables. Getting Britons to eat their fruit and veg is hard enough, but how many would refuse to do so even when getting them for free from a doctor for the sake of their health? 

One in eight Britons (13%) would rather get pills from the doctor instead of being forced to eat fruit and veggies. The large majority (69%) opt for fruit and vegetables in this situation, while 19% don’t know. 

Those aged 18-24 (18%) are more likely than other ages groups (12%) to say they would choose pills over fruit and vegetables. 

One in five Britons eat meat every day 

A further finding from the report was that the government should encourage Britons to reduce the nation’s meat consumption by 30% over the next ten years, principally in order to meet emissions targets and for the sake of the planet.  

When asked today how often on average they eat meat during the week, 83% of Britons said they eat it at least once a week - with one in five (19%) consuming meat it every day. One in ten (9%) Britons never eat meat, and a further 5% eat it less than once a week. 

Men (24%) are much more likely than women (14%) to eat meat every day, and half as likely to never eat it (12% of women and 6% of men). 

While the older age groups are more likely than younger generations to eat meat between two and five times a week, those aged 18-24 are more likely than other generations to eat meat both every day (27%) and not at all (14%).

See the full results here, here and here