Denmark’s food manufacturers have criticised the country’s new fat tax, pointing to the financial impact of the levy and questioning whether it will encourage people to eat more healthily.
The Danish government introduced the tax on food high in saturated fat on Saturday (1 October). It affects products including chicken, pork, cheese, butter, edible vegetable oil and other foods such as potato-based snacks.
Danish dairy firm Bornholms Andeslmejeri has cut 20 to 25 products from its portfolio as a result of the tax.
Arla Foods, meanwhile, has not removed any products from sale although a spokesperson admitted the company’s sales would be affected.
“We do anticipate a loss in annual revenue of up to DKK125m (US$22.4m) on the Danish market due to this tax,” the spokesperson said.
The Danish government has claimed the levy will improve the health of the population. However, some in the food industry disagree.
Meat processor Tulip, which is part of Danish meat group Danish Crown, supplies products including bacon, cold meat and sausages.
A spokesperson said Tulip recognised that obesity is a problem in Europe and the company has a responsibility to make healthier products. However, the spokesperson said Tulip believes Danish companies will be less competitive and said the levy should be implemented on a European level.
Fodevarer, the country’s food and drinks federation, meanwhile, said it also opposes the fat tax. Director Ole Linnet Juul, called the tax a “bureaucratic nightmare”. He said: “I doubt this will change the habit of the consumer.”
Juul added that the way to get people to eat healthy foods is to educate children in school and launch campaigns, not through taxes.