The plan was brilliant. Tax fat foods, improve public health and force companies to exchange sugary treats for rice cakes. But as with all plans of mice and michelles, the Danish fat tax did not work out as planned. Instead of paying the fat tax, Danes smuggled food across the border and left Denmark to be able to eat a decent meal. Companies lost money and weren’t able to expand and it was a net loss for all concerned.
“The fat tax and the extension of the chocolate tax, the so-called sugar tax, has been criticized for increasing prices for consumers, increasing companies’ administrative costs and putting Danish jobs at risk,” the Danish tax ministry said in a statement Saturday.
The country’s fat tax added 16 kroner ($2.7) per kilogram of saturated fats in a product, and was levied on everything containing saturated fats, including raw ingredients like butter and milk to prepared foods like pizzas.
The price of a half-pound of butter, for example, rose by 2.20 kroner, or 37 cents
The Danish Food Workers Union told Food Navigator recently that the measure had led to a loss of 1,300 retail and manufacturing jobs there.
Denmark’s surcharge on the fat content of foods has cost businesses 200 million kroner since it was implemented last October,
And best of all, no one got healthier as a result, they actually became more unhealthy.
Larsen said that the red tape was the only thing to come from the levy, since it did not encourage customers to pick less fatty food.
“There have been absolutely no health benefits gained from this tax,” said Ole Linnet Juul, of DI Fødevarer, a food industry advocacy group.
Arla, the nation’s largest dairy, said Danes were consuming just as much milk, cheese and yoghurt as before; they are just choosing cheaper, and perhaps even less healthy, varieties and the government is actually collecting less money as consumers buy down instead of less.
The fat tax predictably backfired. But lots of greedy Socialists in other countries are still dreaming of pigging out on the rich revenues of fat taxes.
Last week, senators in France called for a tax on foods with palm oil, a levy that has been termed the “Nutella tax” after the beloved chocolaty spread that would become pricier as a result.
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said he was considering a fat tax similar to Denmark’s, referring to the United States in a local TV interview as a cautionary tale.
“Look at America, how bad things have got there – what happens if we don’t do anything? Yes, that should be a wake-up call,”
Apparently Cameron’s idea of austerity is to starve people. Should work really well. Forward!