Pricing measures for healthier diets


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Pricing policies can promote healthier diets by encouraging industry
to reformulate products and by influencing the purchase and consumption of
food and drinks.

Rethink sugary drinks

Health levy on sugary drinks

A health levy on sugary drinks is an effective tool to reduce sugar consumption and to encourage manufacturers to reduce sugar content. It can lead to benefits for all – consumers who drink less sugar, governments with increased revenue to fund health promotion and drink companies who have an incentive to manufacture lower sugar products in line with what consumers expect.

Levies or taxes on sugary drinks have been implemented in more than 50 countries around the world, and evidence shows a drop in consumption of high sugar options following introduction in many countries.

Food for Health Alliance is one of 20 leading public health organisations supporting the Rethink Sugary Drink campaign which is calling for a 20% health levy on sugary drinks in Australia.

Evidence base for a sugary drinks levy

Why is a health levy on sugary drinks a good idea in Australia?

Australians get a lot (just over half) of their free sugar from sugary drinks, and this is highest among young men age 18-24.

One way we can address this is to put a levy on sugary drinks, or on the companies that make those drinks. Sugary drinks companies can then either reduce the amount of sugar in their drink to avoid or minimise the levy, or choose to sell their drink at a higher price than a similar drink with lower sugar content. Australians benefit through reduced sugar content in drinks, reduced sugar consumption and through increased government revenue that can be used to fund health promotion interventions.

Sugary drinks levies or taxes are now common around the world, in place in more than 50 countries. Research in many countries shows reduced consumption following introduction, and also shows they can encourage manufacturers to reduce the sugar content in their drinks.

Read more about the case for a health levy on sugar sweetened beverages in Australia.

Do other countries have health levies or taxes on sugary drinks?

More than 50 countries across the globe have implemented a levy on sugar sweetened beverages. Read about the effects these taxes have had on consumption and reformulation on the Obesity Evidence Hub.

How should a health levy on sugary drinks be designed?

The design of a health levy on sugar sweetened beverages would need to consider, the type of tax, its target, the tax rate and how to use the funds raised. Public health organisations advocate for revenue from a levy to be put into obesity prevention and for a levy that is high enough to impact manufacturer and purchasing behaviour. Read more on how should an Australian tax on sugar sweetened beverages be designed?.

What are the arguments against a health levy on sugary drinks?

Unsurprisingly, the Australian beverage industry is opposed to the introduction of a health levy on sugary drinks. The World Health Organization says that arguments against sugar-sweetened beverage taxes are usually either false or greatly overstated. Read more about the opposition arguments and the public health response.

Pricing measures for healthier diets

GST free fruits & vegetables

Price subsidies on fruits and vegetables that reduce prices by 10–30% are effective in increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

Australia is currently meeting international best practices in exempting fruit and vegetables from the goods and services tax, and we advocate for this to continue.

Less than 10% of Australian adults eat the recommended five servings of vegetables each day and around half do not reach the recommended two serves of fruit. Poor diet is a major contributor to disease and illness. Policy measures to encourage and facilitate better diets, including the consumption of fruit and vegetables, should be retained and supported. To read more, visit the Obesity Evidence Hub


child holding veggies in a bowl

Shocking diet data sparks public health call for urgent government action

Poor diets among children have increased according to ABS National Health Survey 2022 data.

WHO consultation on draft guideline on fiscal policies to promote healthy diets

Fiscal policies, like a levy on sugar sweetened beverages, can influence purchasing behaviour and as part of a comprehensive set of measures to improve diets and reduce overweight and obesity in Australia. Read our submission on the World Health Organizations draft guideline for fiscal policies to promote healthy diets. Read our submission

Learn more

Protecting children from unhealthy food marketing 

Learn about protecting children from the processed food industry’s unhealthy food marketing.

Improving baby and toddler foods

Learn about improving the composition, labelling and promotion of ready-made foods for babies and toddlers to support good health.

Improving food labelling

Labelling of packaged foods should provide accurate information that enables consumers to make choices in line with dietary guidelines. Learn about our work to improve food labelling.

Pricing measures for healthier diets

Pricing measures can promote healthier diets through encouraging reformulation by industry and by influencing the purchase and consumption of food and drinks.

National & international strategies

Learn about the frameworks and strategies that play an important role in changing the food environment to better support healthier diets.