An exploration of the 2018 sugar-sweetened beverage tax on the purchases of Black African women residing in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal

  • GR Ilangila
  • N Wiles
  • A van Onselen


The incidence of death from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is escalating steadily. Several studies conducted in South Africa have shown that obesity is more problematic among females than males, and particularly among Black Africans. Recent literature suggested that the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) could have contributed towards this problem. In 2018, the South African Government implemented taxes on SSBs. This study was conducted before the SSB tax implementation; however, it was important to investigate the potential effect SSB tax is likely to have on the current SSB purchasing behaviour of Black South African women.

A cross-sectional study was conducted among 439 Black African female SSB purchasers, residing in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. The main objectives were to determine the types of SSB purchased; assess the purchasing frequency; investigate the factors that influenced purchases and explore the effect of the 2018 SSB tax on future SSB purchases.

Carbonated fizzy drinks were the most frequently purchased beverage. Price and taste were found to be important factors considered by respondents when purchasing SSBs. Nearly half of the respondents indicated the intention to continue purchasing SSBs as usual despite the future price increase due to the SSB tax. Although most of the literature had suggested that higher tax rates could decrease demand for SSBs, this study’s findings show that the SSB tax alone would not have major impact on changing consumer purchasing behaviour.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0378-5254