Skip to content

Do you need to get a new GTIN and barcode before the sugar levy is introduced?

Date: January 18, 2018

Category: Industry news

As you may be aware, the Government is implementing the Soft Drinks Industry Levy this coming April to help reduce obesity levels and promote healthier lifestyles.

Having taken inspiration from other countries like France, Finland, Hungary and Mexico, the sugar levy, also known as the ‘sugar tax’, will be formally introduced in the UK on 6 April 2018.

This is going to have a significant impact on the food and drink industry as the new levy will make soft drinks companies pay a charge for drinks with ‘added sugar’ and ‘total sugar’ content of five grams or more per 100 millilitres – about 5% sugar content.

There is going to be a higher charge for the drinks that contain eight grams or more per 100 millilitres, about 8% sugar content.

And this is not only going to affect producers of soft drinks but also those who package or import soft drinks with added sugar.

We expect many food and drinks businesses, including many GS1 UK members, are now busy reformulating their products to mitigate the charges associated with the levy.

This is going to be stressful enough before April. So we want to remind you that if there are going to be significant changes to your soft drinks then you might need to get a new GTIN for that product.

To help businesses better understand their responsibilities, we have produced handy guidance about how to decide whether you need to secure a new GTIN – and how to go about getting one.

And why are GTINs important? It’s because they can be used to identify types of products at any packaging level. So it can identify a single can of fizzy drink, a case of energy drinks or a pallet of sports drinks.

Once a food and drink business has assigned a GTIN to one of their products, the unique number also provides the business with a single way of communicating information about the product amongst all its trading partners – in the UK and worldwide.

And if you allocate a new GTIN then there will be knock-on effects – you’ll need a new product barcode, your cases and pallets will change, and your internal systems will need updating too.

Sugar levyUltimately it is your choice to allocate new GTINs or not when considering the impact of the sugar levy. But what’s important is to give consumers the right information about the products they buy. So we recommend that you to act now and change your GTINs so that retailers can make the updates across their supply chains, in their stores and on their online channels.

Regulatory pressure and the healthy eating agenda is highlighting the need for detailed, trusted product information. GS1 UK has been working with a group of leading grocery retailers and suppliers to create an industry service to take cost and complexity out of the management of product information and images.


Soft Drinks Industry Levy: 12 things you should know (GOV.UK website)

Soft Drinks Industry Levy (GOV.UK website)

Soft Drinks Industry Levy: getting your business standard-ready

GTIN Management Standard