Sugar rush for exit?

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On a cold Monday night in the UK in January, Euromoney sat down to watch a Channel 4 programme from its Dispatches current affairs series.

This edition – titled ‘Are we addicted to sugar?’ – revealed the surprising amounts of sugar contained in everyday foods that we consume. With new year health regimes firmly in place, this seemed an ideal way to both educate ourselves and forget about the way regulation continues to hamper growth in the financial markets.

We all know that soft drinks are full of sugar. But who knew that a supposedly healthy cereal bar might contain the equivalent of up to 10 teaspoons of it?

It came as something of a surprise when Credit Suisse’s logo popped onto the screen. Last year, its Research Institute had published a report on how medical research was increasingly establishing a link between the high consumption of sugar and the global type 2 diabetes pandemic, which is now thought to afflict as many as 400 million people, mostly in the developed world.

Credit Suisse warned of the potential difficulties facing companies that rely on sugar-based products. It predicted that sugar consumption is likely to fall as people change their eating habits, and that there is a risk that governments might start to try to change consumers’ behaviour through the introduction of taxes and health warnings on packaging akin to those on tobacco products.

"The potential for a surge in negative public opinion and the looming threat of regulation and taxation are issues that the food and beverage industry needs to tackle," the report said.

It’s an interesting report – but then again, given its issues with both global and local banking regulators, Credit Suisse knows a thing or two about the impact of regulation on a business.