Food & beverage taxes
As concerns over obesity and related health issues grow worldwide, a number of governments have imposed taxes on products like sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, red meat and vegetable oils, and others are or are considering doing the same. The taxes aim to curb consumption of these products and generate government revenue.
Proponents claim that by raising prices, governments can decrease consumer demand for foods and beverages that have detrimental effects on human health or the environment. Whether food taxes are an effective and appropriate intervention is a matter of intense debate.
- Cargill recognizes that governments have a role to play in promoting healthy and sustainable diets. At the same time, we are skeptical that food taxes are helpful in achieving that goal.
- While price can affect demand, there is no agreement on whether food taxes result in better public health or a more sustainable food supply. Because price is one of many factors that influence consumers’ food choices, such taxes have not demonstrated clear benefits to public health or other desired outcomes in the food system.
- A variety of foods can be incorporated into a healthy and balanced diet. Reversing obesity trends and addressing other complex food system challenges requires broad cooperation between all parties involved.
- Cargill is committed to working with all stakeholders and across sectors to identify and adopt evidence-based measures that encourage the production and consumption of foods that nourish people and protect natural resources.
- We supply a wide range of foods and ingredients that provide customer and consumer choice. We work to develop innovative food products and ingredients that improve the nutritional quality of the food supply.
- Cargill encourages governments to adopt evidence-based policy approaches to promote healthy and sustainable diets, for instance through comprehensive nutrition and health programs and consumer education.
Taxes and other policy measures targeting a limited number of food categories are unlikely to yield significant gains in public health or environmental sustainability. Furthermore, they:
- Are discriminatory, administratively complex and costly to implement
- Harm economic competitiveness and adversely impact employment in the food and beverage supply chain
- Risk straining household food budgets, particularly for lower- and middle-income families who spend a greater portion of their incomes on food.