In Mexico, business owners warn that the tax on sugar sweetened soft drinks has affected the competitiveness of the industry, leading to the loss of 1700 jobs since the tax was introduced in 2014. The National Beverage and Carbonated Drink Producers’ Association (Anprac) is looking to meet with the Ministry of the Treasury, in an attempt to modify the current tax system.

According to Anprac, the tax “has had a negligible effect on reducing the calorie intake of Mexicans, but has had a series of adverse economic effects such as the direct loss of over 1700 jobs and a halt to investment in infrastructure by industry”.

“Last year, the sector saw a 2.5% fall in its sales volumes, but the impact on individual calorie consumption, which was one of the reasons cited by the Government for applying this tax, was only 6.2 calories (1.6 grams of sugar) per person per day. It’s more a tax-collection measure than a health-related one”.

Moreover, according to Anprac the revenue raised by the tax on soft drinks “has not been applied toward measures to prevent obesity nor to install drinking fountains in schools”.

 

Similar conclusions can be drawn from a new report, published in New Zealand, on the effectiveness of sugar taxes in curbing obesity: Fizzed out: Why a sugar tax won’t curb obesity. The report, issued by the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union and based on Nielsen sales data, had following key findings:

  • Only 1.6 per cent of New Zealanders’ total energy intake comes from the added sugar content of sugar sweetened non-alcoholic beverages
  • Sugar taxes hurt the poor and do not result in the decreased consumption tax-supporters claim
  • Similar taxes overseas have not worked

According to Jordan Williams, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, “this report confirms what many suspected. A tax on soda will raise a lot of revenue for politicians but do little, if anything, in terms of reducing obesity”.

“Singling out a product that is responsible for only 1.6% of Kiwi’s energy intake is symbolism, not effective public policy. We all agree obesity is a problem, but the evidence is that sugar taxes do very little to improve public health”.

 

The CNNE article on the Mexican tax can be found here (in Spanish).

The press release from New Zealand’s Taxpayers’ Union can be found here.

The report Fizzed out: Why a sugar tax won’t curb obesity can be downloaded here.