Tax won’t solve obesity
Taxation must be predictable, transparent, non-discriminatory and designed in a way that limits substitution or distortion of competition.
Discriminatory taxes are a one-dimensional approach to solving the complex issues of obesity and fiscal deficits. They often result in unintended negative consequences.
Reformulation and portion size control are more cost-effective interventions than tax in reducing calories and sugar in the diet2.
Producers of food and beverages can play an active and meaningful role in shaping a healthier food environment, e.g. through reformulation, smaller portion sizes, innovation and responsible sales and marketing.
Tackling obesity effectively requires a holistic approach with the involvement of public and private stakeholders working together to address the challenges related to lifestyle, lack of exercise, unbalanced diets and limited understanding of nutrition.
1 Figures to be updated in Q2-2018
2 OECD, 2010. Healthy Choices, OECD Health Ministerial Meeting, Paris, 7-8 October 2010, Session 2, Paris 2010 (see here): “fiscal measures aimed specifically to change behavior are complex to design and enforce; their impact may be unpredictable as the price elasticity of demand varies across individuals and population groups; they can bear more heavily on low-income groups than on those with higher incomes”.