State Secretary puts sugar tax on hold: ‘No proof it works

There will be no sugar tax for the time being. State Secretary Blokhuis wrote this in a letter to the House of Representatives in which he explained an investigation by the RIVM into similar initiatives in France, Norway and the United Kingdom.

The sugar tax, a higher price for drinks containing sugar, should reduce their consumption. The aim is to combat obesity and the resulting diseases, but according to the RIVM there is no hard evidence for this yet.

According to RIVM, long-term effects on health are not yet clearly demonstrable because the sugar tax has not yet been in force for that long in those countries. In addition, obesity is not only the result of the intake of sugary drinks, but there are other factors that play a role. The State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport writes that other measures to combat obesity are also conceivable.

Sales of sugar drinks did fall

However, it appears that sales of sugar-containing beverages decreased in the three countries and sales of non-taxed beverages increased. In the United Kingdom, the composition of sugar drinks was adjusted so that they are no longer taxed. In Norway, sales of bottles of water increased, but it is not clear whether this was a result of the tax.

Blokhuis stated that he had not yet introduced the tax because he had made other agreements in the National Prevention Agreement to combat obesity. For example, soft drink manufacturers have made an offer to reduce the amount of sugar in their products.

Blokhuis is still keeping the door open for making unhealthy products more expensive and making healthy food cheaper.