The impacts on food purchases and tax revenues of a tax based on Chile’s nutrient profiling model

M. Arantxa Colchero, Guillermo Paraje, Barry M. Popkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background In June 2016, Chile implemented the Law of Food Labelling and Advertising, which included a mandatory front-of-pack warning labels on food and beverages high in added sugar, saturated fat, sodium or energy density, restrictions on child-directed marketing and on the promotion and sales of these products in schools. The regulation does not include taxes although Chile had implemented a tiered tax on SSBs two years before this law was implemented. Therefore, the objective of the study was to simulate the impact of taxing food and beverages based on the cutoff’s points for warning labels on purchases and revenues. Methods We derived price elasticities using the linear approximation of the almost ideal demand system for six groups of labeled food and beverages (with a warning label based on the regulation) and unlabeled (with no warning label): 1) unlabeled beverages, 2) labeled beverages, 3) unlabeled cereal based products, 4) labeled cereal based products, 5) labeled meat and fish and 6) labeled sweet snacks and desserts. The study used data on household food beverage purchases from the Kantar WorldPanel Chile and Euromonitor sales to adjust the Kantar elasticity results to the national average. We estimated revenues under three tax scenarios for all labeled food and beverages: 10%, 20%, 30% of the final price excluding taxes. Results Except for labeled fish and meat, all food and beverage groups were price elastic. After accounting for a reduction in consumption after the taxes, economic and population growth, revenues for all groups could reach between 457 million USD to 1.3 billion USD. These results based on the much larger tax base of these labeled “high in added sugar, salt or saturated fat or energy density” foods and beverages is much larger. Conclusion This fiscal package could be implemented in countries with warning labels to enhance health and welfare. The Chilean warning label front-of-the-package system provides an important guide for countries considering policies to reduce diet-related non communicable diseases, including obesity. The fiscal policy impact alone, as shown here for Chile, will be highly impactful in reducing ultra-processed food intake and generating revenues.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0260693
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume16
Issue number12 December
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

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