State-of-the-art for food taxes to promote public health

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The use of taxes to promote healthy nutritional behaviour has gained ground in the past decade. The present paper reviews existing applications of fiscal instruments in nutrition policy and derives some perspectives and recommendations from the experiences gained with these instruments. Many countries in different parts of the world have experiences with the taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages, in some cases in combination with taxes on unhealthy food commodities such as confectionery or high-fat foods. These tax schemes have many similarities, but also differ in their definitions of tax objects and in the applied tax rates. Denmark has been the only country in the world to operate a tax on saturated fat content in foods, from 2011 to 2012. Most of the existing food tax schemes have been introduced from fiscal motivations, with health promotion as a secondary objective, but a few have been introduced with health promotion as the primary objective. The diversity in experiences from existing tax schemes can provide valuable insights for future use of fiscal instruments to promote healthy nutrition, in terms of designing effective and efficient tax or subsidy instruments, and in terms of smooth and politically viable implementation of the instruments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the Nutrition Society
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)100-105
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ID: 186414942