Britain’s nanny state government is imposing a new tax on sugar to curb the obesity epidemic in the country — and Coca-Cola consumers will be hit the hardest.
The company announced on Monday that its 1.75-liter bottles will be reduced to 1.5 liters due to the tax, which will be imposed from April this year. Worse still, the cost of each bottle will go up by 20p, or $0.28.
However, the drink will retain its current recipe, and continue to include its 10.6 grams of sugar per 100ml, the BBC reports.
“People love the taste … and have told us not to change,” a Coca-Cola European Partners spokesman told the BBC.
“We have no plans to change the recipe of Coca-Cola Classic so it will be impacted by the government’s soft drinks tax,” he added, stating that other drinks including Coca-Cola Zero and Diet Coke, the company’s two other no-sugar drinks, will not be affected by the price hike and size reduction.
Coca-Cola’s decision to preserve the recipe of its flagship drink is understandable given the widespread backlash against “new Coke,” which was introduced in 1985 and pulled less than three months after it was introduced.
The country announced the sugar tax in May 2016 by former Chancellor George Osborne to fight childhood obesity. This April, soft drink manufacturers like Coca-Cola will be taxed at 18p ($0.25) on drinks containing more than 5 grams of sugar per 100ml, or 24p ($0.33) in drinks containing more than 8g of sugar per 100ml.
The British government estimates that it will raise at up to £520m ($716m) from the tax in 2018, which it intends to spend on the country’s public schools.
The tax will affect one in every five soft drinks sold in the UK, as many companies have responded by changing their recipes by increasing artificial sweeteners and reducing sugar content. Drinks like Sprite, Fanta and Dr. Pepper, all of which are owned by the Coca-Cola Company, contain 33 percent less sugar in their new recipes.
The BBC states that Scottish soft drink manufacturer faced a backlash following the company’s decision to alter its recipe to use artificial sweeteners over sugar. Fans of the original drink launched a petition to revive the original drink.