Companies’ Responses to a Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Implications for Research; Comment on “Understanding Marketing Responses to a Tax on Sugary Drinks: A Qualitative Interview Study in the United Kingdom, 2019”

Document Type : Commentary


1 School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK

2 Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal


The paper by Forde et al, newly published in this journal, sheds light on how sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) companies may react to the introduction of a SSB tax. This commentary goes over the paper’s main findings and drafts implications for research on the impacts of SSB taxes. First and foremost, future research needs to assess the actual impacts of SSB taxes on companies’ actions, especially reformulation. Second, cross-country research, comparing large companies with similar beverage portfolios, could bring insights about the impacts of external factors, including different SSB taxes, on companies’ decisions. Third, SSB companies’ actions are potential confounders in empirical studies looking into the impacts of SSB taxes on prices, demand, or other outcomes. Researchers need to be aware of and discuss such aspects thoroughly in their studies, as the implications for the interpretation of results are evident.


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  • Receive Date: 16 August 2022
  • Revise Date: 05 November 2022
  • Accept Date: 12 November 2022
  • First Publish Date: 16 November 2022