Fight against unhealthy food: Food taxes could stop strong overweight
What if unhealthy foods were more expensive than healthy ones? Presumably, many consumers would then often opt for the weight-friendly variant – so at least is the thesis of scientists at the University of Hamburg.
Different levels of taxation on healthy and unhealthy foods could help to halt the increase in overweight in Germany. This is the result of a study by the University of Hamburg, which was commissioned by the GermanObesity Society (DAG) and the German Diabetes Association (DDG).
Graduated tax should be based on food traffic lights
The most effective would be a graduation of VAT , which is based on the so-called food traffic lights. According to this, healthy products such as fruits and vegetables should be taxed at zero percent, foods such as pasta or meat should continue to be taxed at seven percent, and particularly sugary or fatty products at least 19 percent.
Special taxation of soft drinks required
The experts also bring an increase in the tax rate for the particularly harmful soft drinks from 19 today to 29 percent in the game. Soft drinks often play a crucial role in the development of obesity, or extreme obesity, even more so than sweets. Fruit juices without added sugar, on the other hand, would fall into the yellow category.
The experts referred to other countries that have already raised taxes on unhealthy products. For example, some cities in the US had introduced a special tax on sugary drinks, including Berkeley in California. There, sales of soft drinks fell by 21 percent. In addition, manufacturers of finished products often changed their recipes after tax adjustments and reduced fat and sugar.
The World Health Organization had also spoken out in favor of controlling overweight for special taxes on sugary drinks. In Germany, a quarter of the population (25 percent) is considered obese, and the number is rising. Being overweight means being at risk for many diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin, about every fourth to fifth German is now seriously overweight. This is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases , diabetes and cancer, for example .