More than half (54%) of Brits support a ‘pudding tax’, research from the Oral Health Foundation shows.
Popularity for the tax jumps amongst the younger generation, with 84% of under-35s supporting the idea.
The Oral Health Foundation (OHF) suggests the levy could include puddings, desserts, biscuits, chocolate and sweets.
‘The sugar tax, has been a significant success, not only for oral health, but wider health and wellbeing too,’ Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the OHF, says.
‘In the long term, products with less added sugar will mean a healthier population.
‘It will also save the NHS billions every year.
‘When it comes to sugar, 10% of a child’s intake comes from soft drinks.
‘But more than twice that comes from puddings, ice cream and sweets.
‘It means that replicating the model into a pudding tax is absolutely necessary.’
The OHF is calling on the government to implement a ‘pudding tax’ quickly and curb Britain’s ‘unhealthy obsession with sugar’.
Latest figures show children consume three times as much sugar as they should.
OHF suggests voluntary regulation doesn’t work, with food manufacturers unlikely to reformulate their products when unprompted.
‘Public Health England’s campaign to reduce sugar content by a fifth by 2020 needs widespread support,’ adds Dr Carter.
‘The most effective way we can achieve this is with a pudding tax that increases pressure on manufacturers to reduce added sugar in some of the UK’s most popular snacks.’
Almost three quarters (74%) of UK adults eat a sugar-based snack every day, OHF statistics show.
Nearly half (46%) eat two sugary snacks a day, while 28% have three or more.
The charity believe a tax on puddings and confectionary would pave the way for healthier, more nutritious alternatives.
‘Eating healthier foods with less sugar is more expensive,’ Dr Carter concludes.
‘This can present problems for many individuals and families across the UK.
‘We want to see more people eat less sugar, but the alternatives must become more affordable.
‘That’s why a portion of the income of any new pudding tax must be put towards making healthier foods cheaper.’