Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Who needs a diet when there are taxes?

Recently we mentioned that the fight against obesity is moving to the top of the political agenda of the Member States. Aside new rules on labelling (How to get consumers to eat healthier?), which aim to allow consumers to make more conscious choices (hopefully healthier), there are more political debates as well as attempts to regulate the food market. UK medical circles increasingly argue for food taxation to be introduced (The fight against obesity: To tax or not to tax?). Ireland introduced a 'soda tax' following on the French example. However, other news (The 'nanny state' in consumer health needs to go) report on the failed experiment with a 'fat tax' in Denmark. This tax was repealed within 15 months from its introduction due to no reported beneficial impact on consumer health, but rather noticed trend of lower income consumers switching to cheaper and potentially even more rich in fat food. It is not easy - trying to get consumers to make all the 'right' choices - but it is encouraging to see that various policymakers are trying various methods to improve consumer wellbeing. From the research perspective - the comparison of the different policies adopted by various Member States may provide the winner, i.e. the most effective policy measure in this area.

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