New Soda Tax In France: Answer to Obesity and Debt Crisis?
Earlier this year, countries like Hungary and Denmark decided to apply new taxes to unhealthy foods. Now France is following suit by imposing a soda tax. Starting on January 1, 2012, the so-called “cola-tax” will be applied to all sugary soft drinks, including big global brands like Coca Cola and French brands like Orangina.
According to Agence France-Presse, the tax of around one Euro cent per can is expected to bring in tax revenues of 120 million Euros ($156 million). For a government that needs to find 100 million Euros in savings to balance its budget by 2016, taxing the sweet tooth of the French populace may seem like a great way to kill two birds with one stone — bring in more tax revenues and decrease obesity.
But will a one cent per can tax be enough to actually change the habits of the French? That remains to be seen. The small increase in price as a result of the tax may not be enough, but industry sources predict a price increase of up to 35 percent when the tax is introduced.
Companies that produce sugary drinks have, of course, protested the introduction of the tax. In September, Coca-Cola announced that it would suspend its planned investment in a new plant in France in a “symbolic protest” against the planned tax. The company felt that it would punish their company and stigmatize its products.
Personally, I see the entire price of a can of soda and then some as a tax on both my wallet and my health. If I really want to give in to a sugary drink, then I have to pay that price. Most of the time, however, a glass of water wins out.
Photo credit:Gullig on flickr