Economic Environment Intervention

Would taxing sweet snacks bring greater health benefits than taxing sugar-sweetened drinks?

The UK Government levy on sugary drink producers started in April 2018. Our study looks at whether increasing the price of sweet snacks would be as effective.

We found that a 10% increase in the price of sweet snacks could lead to a similar reduction in consumer demand as the same price increase for sugar-sweetened drinks.

However, such a price increase is estimated to have knock-on effects that may further reduce purchases of sugar-sweetened drinks and other snacks.

Furthermore, as sweet snacks provide twice as much sugar in the diet as sugar-sweetened drinks, the overall reduction on sugar intake could be even greater than that observed with price increases for sugar-sweetened drinks.

Are sweet snacks more sensitive to price increases than sugar-sweetened beverages: analysis of British food purchase data. Smith, Cornelsen, Quirmbach, Jebb, Marteau, 2018.

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