A study of the effect of taxes on saturated fat, salt, sugar, and sugar-sweetened beverages concludes that a less than 1% increase in food spend could yield an estimated net cost-saving of $A3.4 billion in health costs.
The right taxes can also lead to a significant increase in the average Aussie’s healthy life expectancy.
The study was conducted by Linda J. Cobiac, King Tam, Lennert Veerman, Tony Blakely entitled “Taxes and Subsidies for Improving Diet and Population Health in Australia: A Cost-Effectiveness Modelling Study”, published in PLOS Medicine Journal on 14 February 2017.
modelled the potential impact for the Australian population of five policy options: taxes on saturated fat, salt, sugar, and sugar-sweetened beverages and a subsidy on fruits and vegetables.
and their report concluded
The modelling illustrates the potentially large benefits of combining food taxes and subsidies for improving population health and reducing health sector spending.
A Canberra Times write-up of the report notes that taxing food according to their nutritional content has increasingly attracted the interest of governments around the world with
Sugar taxes are already in place in Britain, Ireland, Belgium, France, Fiji, Mexico, South Africa and five US states.
The report accurately foreshadows that the food industry is unlikely to welcome policies that steer consumption away from profitable, processed foods.