by Saircia Rose
- Denmark is introducing Europe’s first “fat tax”, raising the price of fatty foods in a bid to reduce heart disease and help Danes shed pounds (Telegraph.co.uk, 29 September 2011).
- From October 1, Danes will pay 35 cents more on a pack of butter, 9 cents on a packet of crisps and 15 cents per pound of minced beef. The tax aims to raise 2.2 billion Dkr (€160 million), while slashing consumption of butter by 15% and saturated fats by 10%.
- The tax is levied at 2.5% per kilo of saturated fat and applied at point of sale, so retailers and wholesalers will feel the pinch.
- Less than 10% of Danes are clinically obese, just below the European average and half the number of Brits (20%). Nevertheless, the Danish Institute for Food and Resource Economics estimates that 4% of premature deaths are caused by over-consumption of saturated fats.
- In September 2011, Hungary began taxing packaged foods containing unhealthy levels of sugar, salt, carbohydrates and caffeine.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- If cigarettes and alcohol carry taxes and warnings, why not fatty foods? With heart disease and diabetes on the rise in all EU states, coercing consumers into healthier choices could reduce their burden and that of national health services.
- While Denmark may not rank among Europe’s fattest nations, being proactive against growing concerns sets a continent-wide example.