Colombia: Study predicts less sugary drink consumption with tax

GFRP researchers predict a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in Colombia would lead to a decrease in purchases of those sugary drinks and a move toward healthier food choices in a new study published online December 20 in PLOS One.

Juan Carlos Caro and team used data from the Colombia National Income and Expenditures Survey to estimate the price elasticities of consumer demand for sugar-sweetened beverages. They projected that a 20 percent tax on sugary beverages would decrease purchases by 32 percent and raise $480million USD in government revenue by 2020. This increased revenue could be utilized for public health projects and priorities in Colombia.

Read the full research article here or the press release from UNC here.

The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) posted a report on this study on their website on January 10, 2018, highlighting:

Obesity and overweight prevalence have increased dramatically in Colombia in recent years, and a large body of prior research makes it clear that sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas and fruit drinks are a major contributor to these health problems.

Colombia is not alone in this. Countries around the world are implementing tax policies to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Building on this momentum, a team of researchers estimated how purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages and other foods might change, as well as how government revenue might be affected, should similar fiscal measures be implemented in Colombia. (Such taxes have been discussed in the country, but have not yet been passed).

*** Post updated January 18, 2018 to reflect ASPPH report posted online.