Taxing junk food could improve diets, review finds

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Not just taxes: Fruit and veg subsidies could boost consumption
Not just taxes: Fruit and veg subsidies could boost consumption
Taxes on soft drinks and foods high in saturated fat and subsidies for fruits and vegetables could improve diets and overall health, according to a new review from New Zealand researchers.

Published in PLoS Medicine​, the review combined the results of 32 different modelling studies, all from OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. The authors found that a 10% increase in the price of soft drinks could decrease consumption anywhere from 1% to 24%.

For foods high in saturated fat, the combined data suggest that for every 1% price increase, energy intake from saturated fat could fall by 0.02%.

"Based on modelling studies, taxes on carbonated drinks and saturated fat and subsidies on fruits and vegetables are associated with beneficial dietary change, with the potential for improved health,”​ the authors wrote in the study.

In addition, they found that decreasing the price of fruits and vegetables by 10% increased consumption 2% to 8%.

However, for subsidies, they warned there was some evidence to suggest savings made on healthier foods might be used to buy less healthy foods, like sugar, and shoppers might compensate by reducing their purchases of other healthy foods, like fish.

"It must be noted that the impact of any given food tax or subsidy is likely to differ by country depending on factors such as the type of tax system implemented, health status, co-existent marketing, cultural norms, expendable income, and the social role of food,”​ they wrote.

"…Given the limitations of the current evidence, robust evaluations must be planned when food pricing policies are implemented by governments."

In addition, although opponents of food and beverage taxes have argued that they are regressive, in that they have the greatest effect on those on the lowest incomes, the authors suggest that the benefits of better diets could also disproportionately affect lower income consumers.

The authors concluded: "Additional research into possible compensatory purchasing and long-term population health outcomes for different socio-economic groups is needed."

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

OATVITA, A RISING STAR IN THE PLANT-BASED MARKET

OATVITA, A RISING STAR IN THE PLANT-BASED MARKET

OATVITA, a Frulact company | 27-Jun-2022 | Product Brochure

OATVITA is focused on the development of plant-based concentrated liquid solutions for food and beverage industry. We offer innovative and tailor-made...

Texturising plant-based meat alternatives

Texturising plant-based meat alternatives

Herbafood | 08-Jun-2022 | Technical / White Paper

At Herbafood, we are certain that the shift towards plant-based eating will continue to play a major role in human nutrition.

The power of plant-based - and how color can help

The power of plant-based - and how color can help

EXBERRY® by GNT | 18-May-2022 | Product Presentation

With Coloring Foods, the possibilities for plant-based products are almost limitless. Sustainable, natural and vegan-friendly food and drink is enjoying...

Healthy, delicious and sustainable

Healthy, delicious and sustainable

Döhler – Natural Food & Beverage Ingredients | 21-Mar-2022 | Data Sheet

Discover our comprehensive portfolio of plant-based ingredients which are ideally suited for innovative plant-based applications. Doehler fully understands...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars