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

In April 2018, the UK Government introduced a levy on sugary drink producers. 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.

Access full text