The case for taxing unhealthy food

The Food Research Collaboration published a paper this week looking at the case for taxing unhealthy food in the same way that tobacco and alcohol are taxed – something some countries are already doing.

Health related food and drink taxes are already applied in Finland, France, Hungary and Mexico.  Such taxes are credited with reducing the amount of unhealthy food consumers buy, although it is not possible to assess the long term impact on consumption and health yet.

The food industry, unsurprisingly, say that unhealthy food tax is unnecessary and that voluntary agreements around advertising to children, promoting health eating and product composition is the right approach.

The food research collaboration see these things as important, but also see a role for taxes.  The report provides an interesting discussion of some of the practical considerations related to introducing health related taxes to food.

To date, the response from politicians has ‘not been positive’.

The full report can be read here


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