Because the price of a product is one of the elements that strongly influences its purchase, an increasing number of countries is implementing fiscal measures such as food taxation, as a response to the obesity epidemics and its consequences (eg France, Denmark or Hungary).

EPHA developed a Briefing Paper assessing the possibility of improving people’s diet and health through the implementation of fiscal measures, an issue that is increasingly encouraged by high level organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization (WHO) and recently by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter.

EPHA considers that recommendations to implement fiscal measures making the healthier option more affordable while making the unhealthy more expensive and thereby possibly improving people’s diet, should be established as the basis for a call for action across Europe.

Today, overweight people account for one in two people and obese people for one in four, in the European Union. Similarly chronic non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes type II and cancers cause up to 86% of all deaths in the European Region of the World Health Organization.

There is a clear consensus on the fact that nutrition is a factor that strongly impacts on heath and therefore plays a key role in today’s burden of non-communicable diseases. At the same time, food habits have evolved tremendously during the past few decades with a population globally eating more energy-dense foodstuffs, of poorer nutritional quality, while decreasing the energy expended on a daily basis.

- EPHA Briefing on Fiscal Measures applied to Food Policy.

EPHA related articles

***Update October 2012*** Food taxation in Europe: Evolution of the legislation

EPHA Open Letter to the Irish Minister for Health on the proposed sugar tax

EPHA Open Letter on the French ’sweet drinks tax’

EPHA Open Letter to welcome the Hungarian tax on unhealthy products

Open Letter to the Romanian Government on the proposed "junk-food" tax

Last modified on December 15 2011.