Food Taxes: A New Holy Grail?

Document Type : Perspective


Artevelde University College, University of Ghent, Belgium


In an effort to reduce the growing prevalence of overweight and obesity, food taxes have been introduced in several European countries, the so-called ‘obesitax’. As yet little evidence is at hand, policy measures are being taken to counterweight the consumption of unhealthy food or the increasing diet-related diseases. Several questions need to be discussed, starting from a general perspective: can food taxes become an appropriate and just policy measure to reduce overweight and obesity and therefore increase consumer’s health? The implementation of an effective and fair food tax is an exercise riddled with uncertainty. Not only is there a need for evidence on the health and economic impact of food taxes, we also have to think about a conceptual and ethical discussion concerning the balance between health imperatives and public health on the one hand, and social and ethical standards on the other hand.


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