New tax on beverages with sugar does not reduce consumption. A tax of a few cents since half a year has not reduced the consumption of sweetened beverages. De Morgen and Het Laatste Nieuws write on Tuesday (28 June) that consumers instead are turning to discount stores which sell soft drinks without any marks or to shops abroad.
The tax on sweetened beverages was introduced by the Minister of Public Health Maggie De Block (Open VLD) to encourage Belgians to adopt a healthier lifestyle. But six months after the application of the tax, the sale of sweetened beverages has not decreased.
“The tax has not the achieved its stated objective and just helps to fund the state treasury,” Carrefour says.
The customer purchases the desired beverage on the other side of the border according to figures from the Belgian trade association for water and soft drinks. “A Belgian in five purchases water and soft drinks abroad,” the association says.
The quantities purchased continue to increase: 162 liters per person in 2012 to 166 liters in 2016. 7% of the volume was not purchased in Belgium. In addition, consumers turn more frequently to discount stores that do not sell brands.