New study: Fat tax didn’t work, either

cupcakesSo soon after it was officially confirmed that alcopops tax didn’t work, we are now being reminded that the Danish fat tax didn’t work either. The infamous and indefagitable Christopher Snowdon has published a research paper through the IEA into the failures of the Danish fat tax titled The Proof of the pudding. According to the research paper it had a harmful economic impact and cost jobs:

The economic effects of the fat tax were almost invariably negative It was blamed for helping inflation rise to 4.7 per cent in a year in which real wages fell by 0.8 per cent. Many Danes switched to cheaper brands or went over the border to Sweden and Germany to do their shopping. At least ten per cent of fat tax revenues were swallowed up in administrative costs and it was estimated to have .cost 1,300 Danish jobs.

It made the poor poorer:

It was widely criticised across the political spectrum for making the poor poorer. By October 2012, 70 per cent of Danes considered the tax to be ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ and newspapers routinely ,described it as ‘infamous’, ‘maligned’ and ‘hated’.

The public’s attitude is one thing. What matters more is whether it was effective. The answer is, ironically, a big fat no, not that you’d hear it from the public health activity lobby:

The results failed to match the predictions of the health lobby’s computer models and the failed experiment has since been largely swept under the carpet in public health circles.


The fat tax had a very limited impact on the consumption of unhealthy’ foods. One survey found that only seven per cent of’ the population reduced the amount of butter, cream and cheese they bought and another survey found that 80 per cent of Danes did not change their shopping habits at all.

But unlike the alcopops tax it was declared a failure and removed. For once I might recommend we follow Denmark.


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