Never ones to miss a marketing opportunity, fizz aficionados at SodaStream have launched a new art project overlooking the houses of parliament – three giant statues of everyday people made entirely of sugar.
The stunt coincides with the latest report from the Commons’ Health Committee which said there was now “compelling evidence” a tax on sugary drinks would reduce consumption.
SodaStream says that the statues, which were intended to mark National Sugar Awareness Week (yes, apparently that's a thing), illustrate the amount of sugar in fizzy drinks that Brits consume every minute.
Some political commentators were unimpressed by the carbonated drinks firm backing the tax. The Institute of Economic Affairs' Chris Snowdon told The Capitalist that it was a classic case of "bootleggers and baptists."
"SodaStream seem to be acting on a loophole, as what they produce isn't the finished product and so they won't be directly impacted by the tax," he said.
"However, it seems pretty short sighted on their part. Where there are loopholes people will look to close them."
Standing at up to 7ft tall, the statues were made using the total amount of sugar from fizzy drinks consumed per minute by each of the different age groups the three figures represent.
SodaStream says it is “committed to promoting healthy hydration by providing consumers with the ability to easily create their own sparkling water at home.”
The sugar tax is certainly divisive. While a group of MPs announced yesterday that they would back the tax endorsed by TV chef Jamie Oliver, others are unconvinced that any money raised from inflated soft drinks prices would go to the health sector.
Jonathan Isaby of the TaxPayers' Alliance told reporters on Monday that the sugar tax was a "deeply regressive" move that would hit the poorest hardest. "Politicians and the self-appointed High Priests of the Nanny State in the public health lobby should stop seeing tax hikes as a silver bullet, and instead encourage much more personal responsibility."