Food taxes and subsidies would bring major health gains, study shows

New basket of veg 2020 crop middle top

A consumer tax on the saturated fat, salt and sugar content of food, accompanied by a 20 per cent subsidy on fruit and vegetables, would bring major benefits for the health sector, researchers from Otago, Auckland and Melbourne Universities say.

The researchers have published estimates of the health gains and cost savings to New Zealand’s health system which a combined tax and subsidy scheme would bring. Lead author Professor Tony Blakely, who is an Honorary Professor in Public Health at the University of Otago, and Professor at the University of Melbourne, says there would be large potential health gains from such a scheme, which would be cost neutral for consumers. Their research is published in the international science journal, The Lancet Public Health.

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