Implementing Taxes on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: an overview of current approaches
This publication by UNICEF explores the experience from countries that have implemented “soda taxes” to prevent childhood overweight.With increased rates of childhood overweight, countries are looking for ways to promote good nutrition and reduce the longer-term risk of diet-related noncommunicable diseases. WHO recommendation to limit the intake of free sugars was partly based on evidence that children with a higher intake of “soda” or sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are more likely to be overweight.
Evidence indicates that price is one of the most important factors influencing food purchasing decisions. WHO has called on countries to introduce price policies – or taxes – that increase the retail price of SSBs by at least 20 per cent. The expectation is that this will contribute to improved diets (and health) by shifting consumption away from SSBs towards healthier options, including water. These policies can also raise revenue for health or child services. A growing number of countries worldwide have introduced taxes on SSBs in recent years.
This publication by UNICEF provides information on the use of SSBs taxes to promote better nutrition. The publication includes case studies from France, Hungary, Mexico and Norway, a synopsis of developments in other countries, and a set of general conclusions drawn from these experiences. As the research evidence base is rapidly expanding and lessons from countries start to emerge, it is important to compile such real-world evidence.