One year on: Manchester nutritional supplement providers slam 20% price hike for tax on ‘healthy lifestyle’

By Tim Hyde

The price hike on supplements which came into effect one year ago has been harshly criticised as a petition to abolish the 20% tax increase has been proposed by an online retailer.

The tax, implemented by the government, has been fought by Bulk Powder who accuse the price increase of directly and unfairly targeting a niche market that had achieved steady growth.

It has also been deemed misguided as supplements enhance and promote a healthy lifestyle and therefore are not a cost to the NHS.

Simon Jurkiw from Bulk Powders said: “The sports nutrition industry as a whole was growing at circa 15-20% year on year, according to several reports.”

An instant increase in tax was significant and many companies have struggled to absorb costs and remain competitive.

“Fortunately, for us, we’re extremely competitive price wise. For companies that are more expensive, the addition of VAT has been far more problematic,” Jurkiw added.

“It’s difficult to say how much we could have grown without VAT.

“We were forced to absorb a lot of the price increase, so it has had an effect on profitability on products that have already seen a dramatic rise in raw material cost.”

With over 1.2million users of sporting supplements, Bulk Powders hope they can acquire enough votes to really make a difference.

“We hope to see as many people as possible take notice of it – the more people that take a stand against this and make some noise, the better,” said Jurkiw.

“We’d hope to see as many people as fought the pasty tax!”

Nutritional supplements aid a healthy lifestyle and are axed whereas foods high in fat and sugar, which are known contributors to the UK’s rising obesity levels, haven’t been touched.

Jurkiw added: “As the obesity crisis in this country rises, we’d rather see markets that encourage an unhealthy lifestyle taxed.

“It seems counter-intuitive to tax an industry that encourages a healthy lifestyle.”

Ross Sommers, manager at a Manchester LA Fitness, said: “The instant 20% tax definitely affected the prices, we had to move up prices and our profit margins are the same but we don’t sell nearly as many.”

“I don’t see the relevance in the tax as people taking the supplement are training and exercising leading a healthy lifestyle that doesn’t cost the state.”

“However I could understand a tax on fat-burning supplements which can lead to health issues.”

“It has to be said it doesn’t make sense that healthy foods such as fruit are so much more expensive than cheaper un-healthy options.

Riley Morgan, who works at a Manchester gym, said: “There was a difference straight away prices for everything went up and people have been buying less supplements. I would definitely sign a petition.”

Image courtesy of Noodles and Beef via Flickr, with thanks.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.

Related Articles