Change in non-alcoholic beverage sales following a 10-pence levy on sugar-sweetened beverages within a national chain of restaurants in the UK: interrupted time series analysis of a natural experiment

03 Nov 2017

BACKGROUND: This study evaluates changes in sales of non-alcoholic beverages in Jamie’s Italian, a national chain of commercial restaurants in the UK, following the introduction of a £0.10 per-beverage levy on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and supporting activity including beverage menu redesign, new products and establishment of a children’s health fund from levy proceeds. METHODS: We used an interrupted time series design to quantify changes in sales of non-alcoholic beverages 12 weeks and 6 months after implementation of the levy, using itemised electronic point of sale data. Main outcomes were number of SSBs and other non-alcoholic beverages sold per customer. Linear regression and multilevel random effects models, adjusting for seasonality and clustering, were used to investigate changes in SSB sales across all restaurants (n=37) and by tertiles of baseline restaurant SSB sales per customer. RESULTS: Compared with the prelevy period, the number of SSBs sold per customer declined by 11.0% (−17.3% to −4.3%) at 12 weeks and 9.3% (−15.2% to −3.2%) at 6 months. For non-levied beverages, sales per customer of children’s fruit juice declined by 34.7% (−55.3% to −4.3%) at 12 weeks and 9.9% (−16.8% to −2.4%) at 6 months. At 6 months, sales per customer of fruit juice increased by 21.8% (14.0% to 30.2%) but sales of diet cola (−7.3%; −11.7% to −2.8%) and bottled waters (−6.5%; −11.0% to −1.7%) declined. Changes in sales were only observed in restaurants in the medium and high tertiles of baseline SSB sales per customer. CONCLUSIONS: Introduction of a £0.10 levy on SSBs alongside complementary activities is associated with declines in SSB sales per customer in the short and medium term, particularly in restaurants with higher baseline sales of SSBs.