Blog: Dean BestDenmark's sat fat tax: could Finland and Sweden follow?

Dean Best | 18 May 2011

Confectioners, snack makers and dairy processors operating in Europe are likely to be aware of Denmark's plans to bring a tax on food high in saturated fat later this year. The Danish plans have proved controversial but could their Scandinavian neighbours follow their lead?

On our analysis pages this week, we have taken a detailed look at Denmark's tax, which is set to be introduced in the autumn.

The tax, which will be imposed on domestic and imported food, is charged at the rate of DKK13.50 (US$2.57) per kg of saturated fat.

Local food industry representatives have criticised the move, arguing, for example, that Danes would be likely to move across the border to Germany and Sweden to shop.

However, some of Denmark's neighbours have considered similar moves and there are signs that a saturated fat tax is on the agenda further north in Finland.

"As a country we need to do more to promote healthier foods and diets. What Denmark plans to do interests us," says Finland finance minister Jyrki Katainen. "During recent years Finland and Denmark have introduced taxes on sugared products such as soft drinks, ice cream and chocolate. A saturated fat tax is a logical next step."

Food manufacturers may not see such a move as logical - and the EU could intervene if it believes Denmark's plan is contrary to regulations on free trade.


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