Economic Views

Is sugar turning Big Food into the next Big Tobacco?

An investor’s view on metabolic syndrome


Elly Irving

ESG analyst

This note assesses the emerging trends that we think will create headwinds for the food and beverage sector. We believe that sugar consumption and its contribution to a wide range of health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity (which collectively are known as metabolic syndrome), are central to this risk. Our research suggests that there are a number of similarities between major food and beverage companies (“Big Food”) and major tobacco companies (“Big Tobacco”). We believe there are three catalysts that could result in Big Food becoming the next Big Tobacco, potentially resulting in lower sales growth, higher costs and large scale litigation.

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