Research Updates | Consumption
Finding: Sugary beverage taxes can reduce consumption.
Summary: University of Otago researchers conducted a systematic review of evaluations of real-world sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes implemented around the world (rather than simulations) and the impact on beverage purchases and dietary intake by meta-analysis. Eligible impact evaluations were obtained from 10 jurisdictions: most were high income and one (Mexico) was high-middle income. They found a 10% SSB tax was associated with an average decline of beverage purchases and dietary intake of 10% (this corresponds to a tax elasticity of -1.00) with considerable heterogeneity between results. There was also a small non-significant increase in non-taxed beverage consumption overall (eg water, 100% juice, milk, diet drinks), although the increase was significant in three out of four jurisdictions that reported this outcome. The authors conclude that SSB taxes around the world have been effective in reducing purchase and dietary intake and designing a tax that applies by threshold of sugar content rather than a percentage of price may be more effective to reduce purchase and intake.
Citation: Tang AM, Jones AC, Mizdrak A et al. Impact of a sugar-sweetened beverage tax on purchases and dietary intake: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews June 2019 (free to view).