Foto: THOMAS BORBERG
News in English

Fat Tax has little effect

Denmark’s Fat Tax may be swelling national coffers but it is having little effect on consumer behaviour.

News in English

Ninety-per cent of Danes are buying as much butter, cream and cheese as they did before the country’s Fat Tax was introduced on October 1.

According to an FDB Analysis for the national news agency Ritzau, only seven per cent of those asked have changed their purchasing habits as a result of the tax.

“Consumers don’t change their habits because the price of biscuits goes up by 0.33 kr. (EUR 0.04),” says Coop Consumer Policy Director Mogens Werge.

“If a duty is to have an effect, it has to be so high that we are shocked and feel the price is unreasonable,” says Copenhagen Business School Consumer Behaviour Researcher Jesper Clement.

The official idea of the Fat Tax was to get Danes to buy lesser amounts of unhealthy foods and to increase life expectancy by a week.

The Prevention Commission says it is too early to gauge the effect of the tax.

“When the price of an item increases, all research shows that consumers buy less of that item. And the bigger the price rise, the greater the change in consumer behaviour,” says Commission Chair Mette Wier.

But Clement says that his research shows that consumers are not particularly good at remembering food prices.

“There has been research done in which people are asked at the checkout how much they have paid for items immediately after they have made their purchases, and they get it wrong,” Clement says.

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Edited by Julian Isherwood

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