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World Action on Salt. Sugar & Health

Calorie Reduction

Hungary Case Study

  • Overview

In 2011, the Hungarian Parliament introduced the Public Health Product (PHP)  - a tax on products with unhealthy levels of sugar, salt and saturated fat. The tax is dependent on the overall healthfulness of the products – for example, salty snacks with >1g salt per 100g, condiments with >5g salt per 100g.

  • Why was the tax implemented?

The tax was developed collaboratively with the World Health Organization with the aim to “reduce the consumption of food products that are not useful from a public health point of view and to promote a healthy diet ... to make healthy food choices accessible and to improve public funding for health care services, especially public health programmes”.

  • Has there been any impact?

Since it’s introduction in 2011, the consumption of unhealthy food products has decreased. In 2012, the National Institute for Health Development found that around 40% of unhealthy food product manufacturers reformulated their products to avoid paying the tax. Manufacturer sales of taxable products fell by an average of 27%, with prices rising by 29%.

In 2014, the National Institute for Food and Nutrition Science found that consumers of unhealthy food products were choosing a cheaper, often healthier product (7–16% of those surveyed), consumed less of the unhealthy product (5–16%), changed to another brand of the product (5–11%) or substituted some other food (often a healthier alternative).

By 2015, the tax generated around US$ 219 million for public health spending.


Mexico Case Study

  • Overview

In October 2013, Mexico’s congress passed legislation imposing an 8% tax on energy-dense foods of low nutritional value – foods with 275kcal or more per 100g. The law went into effect on 1st January 2014.

  • Why was the tax implemented?

The Mexican Congress created the tax as part of measures to slow the country’s rising obesity and diabetes rates, in addition to generating tax revenues.

  • Has there been any impact?

Mexico’s tax resulted in a 5.8% decline in the purchase of taxed foods among households of medium socioeconomic status households and a 10.2% decline among households of lower socioeconomic status.

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