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Should a special tax be applied to "junk" food and applied to offset the costs of healtier foods?

We’ve all been told the virtues of eating healthy and reducing our intake of unnatural, processed, sugary fatty foods. However due to the economies of scale generated by huge multinational corporations it is often cheaper to eat unhealthy.

For example a bottle of Coke is usually cheaper than a bottle of juice or milk. A McDonalds happy meal is usually cheaper than a fresh salad sandwich. A chocolate bar is usually cheaper than a piece of fruit.

Therefore in order to promote healthier eating and increase its affordability should we be applying an additional tax to food and beverages that fall into certain categories and using this revenue to offset the price of health, natural foods?

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    Apr 12 2012: Denmark already do this, see
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15137948
    because
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228356.600-worlds-first-fat-tax-what-will-it-achieve.html

    Britain is just about to introduce it, see
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/dec/21/sugary-soft-drinks-obesity-tax?CMP=twt_gu

    Results are yet to be published...

    My personal opinion is that there is something seriously wrong with the world when highly processed food can be cheaper than fresh fruit and veg which hasn't been processed at all.

    I'm glad to see people like Jamie Oliver educate people on better food choices (http://foodrevolutionday.com/) and I think this is more important to tackling obesity than tax.

    I like the idea of a fat-tax as it reduced the incentives to produce and consume it. Once you get into good eating habits you realise how junk food saps your energy rather than gives you energy. Reduce demand and you will reduce supply.

    Healthy people are happy people!
    • Apr 12 2012: Thanks Alexander.

      I was aware that Denmark was implementing a tax along these lines which I thought was very proactive given their national obesity rate is one of the lowest in Europe, although I was unaware that Britain was about to introduce it.

      I agree with you about Jamie Oliver, given all the money and success he has achieved, to continue to educate the public about the virtues of healthy eating, I find remarkable. Educating people about healthier eating is probably more important than applying a tax, however the tax would help to make it more affordable.
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        Apr 13 2012: So do you mean using the tax revenues to fund the education programmes? Then, as the problem solves, the money reduces with it. Good idea!

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