The vice-president and general manager of Coca-Cola has criticised the Government’s plan to introduce a tax on sugar to combat obesity.

Speaking at Retail Week Live this morning – a day after the Government revealed it would be imposing a tax on drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml from 2018 – Leendert Den Hollander, vice-president and general manager of Coca-Cola, said a sugar address was the wrong way to tackle the issue.

Coca-Cola's vice-president on the sugar tax, at Retail Week Live

“We believe and acknowledge and understand the issues around obesity and we have worked for a long time to try and address [this] as an industry and as a company… for example, with light and no calories [drinks]. Still, there’s clearly more that can be done. We don’t believe it is the right solution… we argue that there’s more and better ways we can address this issue. We have a different view on how it can best be done.”

Under further questioning later from host journalist Declan Curry, he added: “We just believe there’s no proof or evidence that sugar tax works. There’s no evidence that calories significantly reduce after sugar tax.”

Den Hollander argued that customers have a choice and that the brand offers a range of alternatives to its sugar-laden Coca-Cola.

He said the company was transparent over the nutritional value of its drinks. “Consumers can make informed choices,” he added.

Den Hollander, who was speaking about how to create a strong brand, said that Coca-Cola will “will stand the test of time”, adding that success “starts with consumers and finishes with the consumer, and collaboration is the enabler to do so.”

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