Study: Taxes on Junk Food Could Limit Intake

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WholeFoods Magazine Staff
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Auckland, New Zealand—Maybe that ban on large sodas implemented in New York City isn’t necessary; just tax them, and people will buy them less. So says a new paper published in PLoS Medicine, which also found that making healthy foods like fruit cheaper will increase their intake among consumers.

Researchers examined 32 previous studies that looked at the impact of pricing on food consumption from various angles, with like studies being grouped together for better analysis. It was discovered that on average, a 1% increase in the price of carbonated soft drinks corresponds with a 0.93% decrease in soft drink consumption. According to the statistical range determined by the researchers, they concluded that a 10% increase in the price of soft drinks could lead to a nearly 25% decrease in consumption in some populations.

The reduction in energy intake of saturated fats was reduced by 0.02% when prices went up 1%. Lastly, it was found that a 1% reduction in the price of fruits and vegetables increases consumption by 0.35%. But some of the analyzed studies indicated that subsidizing fruits and vegetables might lead consumers to purchase less of other healthy foods like fish.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, February 2013 (online 12/19/12)