On 23 June, as part of a special report on regulating consumers, the EU media outlet Euractiv reported on the current debate in Europe and across national markets on how government can encourage consumers to make healthier choices through reformulation rather than discriminatory taxation.

The article underlines that EU authorities have launched several initiatives to tackle obesity, but that at national level, governments are discussing the possibility to introduce food taxes, including soft drinks taxes. However, the health benefits of such taxes have not been proven.

 Euractiv reports that the soft drinks industry has been an early mover in this debate, reducing by 12% the calorie content in its products from 2000 to 2015 and committing to reduce sugar by a further average 10% between 2015 and 2020, in the context of recent EU policy initiatives to curb obesity and non-communicable diseases, in particular through encouraging reformulation.

 The article also notes that the move from the soft drinks industry was applauded by BEUC, the EU’s consumer organisation, which indicated that “it is encouraging that EU member states have made food recipes improvement a top priority”.

 The full article is available here.