Caribbean Flavours and Fragrances (CFF) says it is lending support to manufacturers by introducing a plant-based flavouring aimed at naturally reducing the sugar content of beverages without compromising the taste of the products or the health of consumers.
Chief Executive Officer of CFF Derrick Cotterell says his company is introducing “tried and tested science” that has been around for more than 10 years, which will allow Jamaica to catch up with many other countries in the world.
“This is not at all an artificial sweetener. We are using a very small quantity of a plant-based product that mimics the sweetness of sugar, enhances flavour, while protecting the health of the consumer,” Cotterell said in an interview with the Financial Gleaner.
The Government has been urging manufacturers of soft drinks and other refreshments to lower the sugar content of their products in order to reduce obesity which gives rise to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, or it may be forced to use taxation as a means to get compliance.
However, manufacturers and other private-sector interests are banking on the Government’s assurance that there will be no new taxes, at least for the rest of the year and hence, a levy on sugary beverages is not in the making for now.
Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) President Howard Mitchell says that if the Government moves to tax sugary drinks, a number of members will be affected. He notes that a month ago, the private-sector lobby brought Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton and industry players together in an attempt to have dialogue on the matter, emphasising that a process of engagement is the proper way to go.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner
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