Death + Sugar = Job losses : Worst Campaign of the Year: #PoorerNotThinner

The Beverage Association of South Africa (BEVSA) is a not-for profit membership based industry organisation that represents the interests of the non-alcoholic beverage industry.basically it’s a lobby group for sugar and energy drinks. 

The members include Coca Cola, Pepsico, Redbull, Tiger Brands, Soda king franchising etc  large to small beverage manufacturing companies who produce, import, distribute, and sell a variety of non-alcoholic sparkling and still beverages, including soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, bottled waters, flavored and/or enhanced waters, ready-to-drink teas and coffees and dairy based beverages.

The Purpose of BevSA

According to the websites their purpose is to ensure sustainable growth of the non- alcoholic beverage sector in an open market whilst continuing to creating and maintaining a thriving business environment for the South African non-alcoholic beverage sector.

Their take on the effects of Sugar

This is their the take on sugar filled beverages and the impact on the  general health of south africans.


“As representative of manufacturers and distributors of a wide variety of non-alcoholic beverages, we believe that all of our products can be part of a healthy lifestyle. BEVSA recognizes, however, that there are many complex health, nutrition, and physical activity related issues affecting the global community (such as overweight and obesity), and it is critical that society develops holistic and sustainable solutions based on the totality of scientific evidence. 

To that end, the non-alcoholic beverage industry has been working with government, industry (through the Consumer Goods Council), academia and consumers to be part of the solution, and to promote healthy, balanced, and active lifestyles.”

The Pro Sugar / Anti Tax Campaign

They have launched a campaign  called #PoorerNotThinner to win pubic support for their position on the Sugar Tax being proposed in South Africa: 
“By taxing the soft drink industry, the South African government hopes to reduce obesity rates in South Africa. But mounting evidence from countries around the world shows that taxing sugar-sweetened beverages isn’t the answer.” 

The FACTS according to this dishonest lobby campaign 

  • A tax on soft drinks will cause as many as 10 000 local businesses to close.
  • More than 60 000 jobs are on the line if this tax goes through.
  • Obesity levels are still rising in South Africa, even though consumers are eating less sugar.
  • Sugar taxes have been introduced in other countries but have failed to deliver results and are being scrapped.
  • The beverage industry has already been taking positive strides to reduce sugar intake.

(It’s clear that these jobs are at risk a tax is applied it has nothing to do with caring about workers or society’s health)

This is a true reflection of how the tax will impact the soft drink business 

The actual impact of Sugar related overindulgence:

According to Priceless-SA, moderate obesity is associated with an 11% increases in healthcare costs, while severe obesity is associated with a 23% increase in healthcare.

It has projected that by 2030, total healthcare expenditure related to adult diabetes will cost South Africa between R8 billion and R14 billion.


Further more South Africa has the highest instances of obesity in sub-Saharan Africa. 

In a paper entitled the “Cost of inaction on sugar-sweetened beverage consumption: implications for obesity in South Africa” researchers estimated that the growth in consumption of sugary drinks by 2.4% – the rate at which sales of sugar-sweetened beverages are expected to rise – could lead to an additional 1.3-million obese adults by 2017.

The real Lessons from Mexico


ANPRAC, the Mexican Beverage Association, argued that the tax cost 1,700 jobs. But studies show that sugared beverages contribute to the death of 24,000 Mexicans each year, and cause disability such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputation, and tooth decay in tens of thousands more. 
Furthermore, the tax was passed with the promise that the money collected would be diverted to improve the Mexican water supply, but instead it just filled general coffers. The poor paid in, and got nothing back.

Public Taxing of Sugar worldwide 

The world is watching Mexico’s every move, as many governments consider imposing a similar tax. Despite Public Health England and Jamie Oliver advocating for a sugar tax, David Cameron has declared his opposition. He thinks there are “more effective ways” of tackling obesity than taxing sugar. If he thinks this problem is about calories, it’s not. If he thinks it’s about obesity, it’s not. It’s about type 2 diabetes. 

The prevalence of diabetes in the UK is 5.4%; lower than the US or Mexico. Yet the NHS spends £14bn a year on diabetes and its complications, never mind the other diseases attributable to soda consumption.

Our analysis:  Why is this a bad campaign 


1. The campaign Sîmply goes against common sense and listed scientific evidence and muddies the impact of sugar on our health. 
2. Makes it very clear that these brands and the association really just don’t care about South Africans and will do anything not to pay tax or help SA deal with with the scourge of their sugary drinks. (35-50% of South Africans  are obese and facing sugar related diabetes )
3. It assumes South Africans are stupid and really paints the Brands represented by the campaign as uncaring sugar mercenaries. 
4.The campaign tells South Africans that they must choose between sugary deaths or jobs .. And worst of all it purports to support lower taxation or no taxation on food.
5. The campaign is built on lies and juxtaposes health with being thin and poor and not real issue of healthy living.
Excessive Sugar intake is bad for all of us and the economy in the long run.
(no surprise that the DA is promoting this nonsensical campaign … They work for industry and big capital only) 
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