Dutch Study Proves that Soda Tax Will Reduce Consumption

Dr Pepper

Sugary soft drinks are not helping the global obesity pandemic. In fact, they may be exacerbating it. That’s why taxing sugary beverages is something being contemplated by governments across the globe.

An experiment conducted by Dutch scientists used 3D simulation of a supermarket simulate a shopping experience and measure it. A group of 100 volunteers was randomly divided into 2. One half saw sodas with 6% sales tax (standard Dutch tax), the others saw prices which included a 19% tax. Both groups were allotted the same total budget.

The group with the higher tax rate bought one quart less soft drinks per week. Interestingly, they did not spend the difference buying more of other “vices” such as candy or alcohol.

Evidently the economic laws of pricing still work.

What are the chances of a serious sugar tax here in America?


  • Audrey

    This is tagged “suagry drinks” (apparently another post was too). Fooducate, fix if you can.

    • http://www.fooducate.com/ Fooducate

      Fixed. Thanks!

  • Aria Gonzalez

    No. The lobby groups would kill it.

    • JKern

      Aria, I think you’re right — but maybe locally, in enough areas, the lobbyists can’t win all the battles. I wish we could simply end the subsidies on corn production, which would effectively raise the price of HFCS, and eventually the price of that soda. Of course, I think the lobbyist would kill that — and us too!

  • Dana Woldow

    Big Soda will certainly try to kill soda taxes that have been proposed for San Francisco and Berkeley (CA), but local advocates will give them a run for their money. Read about what’s happening in the SF Bay Area soda tax fight here http://peachsf.org/soda-tax/

  • Tom L

    Welfare recipients will not care and continue to drink soda regardless of tax

    • Trae

      Smh Tom L. That was a real ignorant comment. How do u kno what welfare recipients do with their benefits? 85% of my clients would be appalled & would feel judgd by ur stupidity. Lol… Simple minded…. It’s not ur fault

      • Tom L

        I don’t know you or who your so called clients are. I simply stated my opinion, which believe it or not is still allowed, on the site. Good for your clients. Unlike you, I didn’t call anyone simple minded or stupid, nor am I attacking you personally. I volunteer my time to help people. Just because you don’t like talking about something and blindly insult people, doesn’t make you smart or help your point along. You are a big got by your own definition for attacking me, oh tolerant one.

        • Randi

          I work retail and see how welfare recipients spend their benefits. many of them think they dont need a club card for sales because it’s “not their money.” I can’t even with that logic. But also, when you buy taxed food with a food stamp card, the tax is removed. (I live in WA)

          • Tom L

            I stand behind you Randi, I lived in a poorer neighborhood not long ago, and I saw the same patterns. On obvious way to tell if they use SNAP: Swiping a Card for some items, then paying cash for the rest. The rest was usually cigarettes and/or booze. My wife had the same name almost (Annita vs Ann) and last name as someone on welfare in my apartment. That apartment was expensive, $850 for cheapest, I could barely afford it, but they could too. In my state, welfare equivalates to $15/hour for a single mother with 2 kids, the norm. Anyway, nice people with good hearts, they just make poor financial choices. Not all of them are this way, but enough of them are for me to ser this everyday. Example, buying children a 24oz Mountain Dew, a Reese’s Ice Cream Bar, and A bag of Potatoes Chips seems to be a lunch theme were I lived. Not saying they all do that, but a lot of them do. Sorry this upsets people, but problems need to be addressed not ignored to be solved.

        • JKern

          Tommy, your opinion is allowed. Even it if is ignorant. Thanks for playing. And actually, we don’t really care about welfare recipients and whether they get too fat to wedge into seats on the plane — because you and I will never ride in coach, right? Someone else’ problem! HA HA!!!

          But seriously, price always affects consumption. Always. I hope the Danes dis not spend too much figuring this one out.

          • Tom L

            Everything except the ignorant part actually sounded intelligent, so I give you a B grade. If you’re raised with the importance of earning money, your LESS likely to spend it frivelessly. However, a large number of people have either lost or never had that principle. People, just because you don’t agree with me doesn’t automatically make me ignorant or wrong. If you refuse to at least consider an opposite view, then that is what is known as closed minded. Insults meant to silence opposition is a trademark of fascism. Play fair and don’t insult or intimidate.

          • Randi

            How is Tom ignorant? Welfare recipients won’t have to pay the tax. From what Isee they will buy junk food no matter what. First of the monthe they will still buy a pile of junk food. Also I don’t think you can apply a European study to american junk food habits. When it comes to eating crap, nothing slows down the usa.

          • JKern

            Okay, Tommy. I’m a fascist. Here’s the thing… you have made a blanket assumption that people on welfare don’t care or are not smart enough to care about nutrition. I would challenge you to show me a difference based on having or not having SNAP benefits and soda consumption.

            You have characterized all welfare recipients as being the same. You further support your argument with some sort of made-up presumption that people who are poor are unprincipled and unable to make the same choices. I’ll challenge you to prove your assumption.

            There is plenty of research that shows increased prices affect food choices. Does everyone stop drinking soda when prices rise? Of course not. Does it affect consumption? Read the research, it does.

            Here’s a problem: Coke is cheaper than milk. It used to be more expensive when there were no subsidies or HFCS. Today, though, parents can put the terrible beverage on the table for less than the nutritious choice. And for families on limited budgets, that creates a problem that ends up in choices based on economics over nutrition.

            You need to have a slightly more open mind to the issues the affect the poor. Start by giving them a little more credit. Poor does not equal dumb.

          • Tom L

            Impressively sad the amount of hate-based assumptions you’ve pulled out of my comments. Are you going to fund this challenge research for me? I could give you links to sites, but somehow I think you will discredit me no matter how much evidence I throw forward. If you are serious about wanting proof, respectfully respond once more, I am not going to waste my time looking into something you are not going to even read. I never said poor people were stupid. I never said they are all the same. True, I did say they won’t care. I used to live in an apartment for 2 years that was overflowing with Welfare and SNAP recipients. In general they are nice people, but truly have problems. Drugs were rampant in that apartment, screaming arguments and fist fights were a weekly reocurrance. Almost every night I was woken by loud stomping at 2am because the person above me loved to shout at the top of her lungs at her young daughter for bringing boys into her room. I could go on forever. I suspect you have had minimal to no exposure to poor people, but if you have, please counter this with stories of encouragement. Just try to keep them believable please. Do you realize the depth of your retaliation toward me is based on a silly despute on who drinks soda. Let’s not go too far now.

          • JKern

            Okay, Tom. I’ll play. You need to separate your fighting neighbors with all welfare recipients. Maybe you’re right, that the drug-users and domestic violence crowd does not care much about their soda choices. But that’s a pretty small percentage of the population. The study indicates that among whole populations, not just those on SNAP (or whatever the Dutch equivalent is), consumption decreases with increased price. That happens to be true whether it’s the sale price or the added tax — either way you get to a higher cost, you affect consumption. Period. What has riled everyone else here is that you dismiss the whole study because in your opinion, a certain segment will not be moved. You go ever further, though, to suggest that the general character of poor people is less than desirable.

            Your words:
            “If you’re raised with the importance of earning money, your LESS likely
            to spend it frivelessly. However, a large number of people have either
            lost or never had that principle.”

            And this is written presumably to support your assertion that the poor do not appreciate the value of money and are unprincipled. I know there’s a debate on what foods should be included in SNAP — and soda is a big target. That’s a discussion for another thread. As far as this one goes — you can’t throw out the kinds of remarks you’ve made about poor people without a response.

          • Tom L

            Well done. No provoking or insults this time. Much better. That growing number implies more than just poor people, thats why I worded it the way I did. Ofcourse I’m not stating every single person is the same. Agreed, that would be simple minded. Try next time not to be so covinced my words means something specific and assume stupidity. There still exsists the problem I’ve mentioned. Facts are 28% more non-elderly women on SNAP obesity increase over non-SNAP. Poor diets can be translated to next generations. It’s everywhere online and at some point back in news papers. Govt has claimed the problem too complex, an excuse to not even try. Amazingly, a simple solution of not covering Soda under SNAP should solve at least some of that. If your in favor of taxing to restrict soda, why wouldn’t you be for restricting Soda handouts?

          • JKern

            Oh, yippee, I earned a “well done”. Okay, first off, you did say that every single person on welfare is the same. You decided to talk about welfare as the people who will keep drinking soda, even though that is a rather poor dividing line. So, ease yourself off your pedestal.

            I’m pretty sure I did not express an opinion on whether SNAP should cover a soda. But here’s the issue: where do you allow and disallow foods? You may know that filtered apple juice is about as nutritious as a soda. Want to ban apple juice? Filtered yes? Non-filtered no? How about cranapple juice? What about zero-calorie soda? Even worse for you… or is it? The IOM said it was okay for kids to drink. (Look it up, I’ll wait.) Or all those beverages that are 10% fruit juice. Or 100% fruit juice… have you hear about how bad OJ is for you??!! How about ice cream… you get a double benefit of being high in both sugar and saturated fat. If you CARE about nutrition for the poor, surely you can make a good argument that they should not have ice cream.

            See where this leads? There are not many foods that can’t be considered bad for you. Complicate that with the reality that not everyone gets to hop into a Suburban and drive to the supermarket. Some folks, disproportionately the poor, shop at stores with limited fresh fruits and vegetables, or non-fat milk and have to buy only what they can carry. Teens may be making the family meal while mom and dad are working the second job. How hard do you want to make getting a meal on SNAP for these folks?

            In principle, its a great idea to say only healthy foods for SNAP. In practice, it’s an impractical hornet’s nest.

          • Tom L

            Well, just in case, I did back track. I certainly did not say poor people were all the same. If your going to leen away from logical discussion and instead attack emotionally, I respectfully terminate my discussion with you.

          • JKern

            No, you indicated that all welfare recipients are the same, since they’ll all still drink soda. Join a debate team, please.

          • Tom L

            In fairness, I agree with some things you’ve said. Clearly there is knowledge and intelligence in your comments, but also a stubburn bias. I appreciate your view on milk and coke, never thought of that. The fact that you are giving me a chance to respond instead of shunning me is proof you are not fascist. People that throw out insults and call for more people to ignore me and label me are who I’m referring to. Personal experience trumps political views and studies which may or may not be also bias.

    • Katie Collins

      Why is this relevant? This article was written in the context of a global obesity epidemic, not a problem with welfare recipients buying unhealthy foods. Do you know of statistics that show welfare recipients are more obese than non-welfare recipients? If not, I don’t see what relevance your comment has except to be inflammatory and judgmental.

  • H2O

    Raise the cost of sodas altogether. No one needs to be drinking soda. I see toddlers drinking soda.. Theres no need for that

  • Johnny Loxville

    By the time we become adults, we should simply know how to restrain ourselves. Focus on informing, even to those who don’t have the motivation to be informed. How about funded health commercials (not influenced by big corps).? I don’t think taxing unhealthy products helps mankind to learn how to choose on their own. It may reduce unhealthy consumption, but only because we can’t afford it. Hey, motorcycles are dangerous, let’s make them cost a lot more. Think for yourselves world, don’t wait for the world to think for you.

  • Dale

    I’m always amazed at the impulse of the self-righteous to substitute their own ideas of what is moral and correct for everyone ELSE’S right to think and choose for themselves.

    And making sweeping statements about any one group of people is a screaming declaration of ignorance, bigotry and holier-than-thou arrogance.