Soda and Junk Food Taxes in Mexico

The Mexican government hopes to tackle obesity with taxes on unhealthy foods.

In an effort to address its national obesity problem, the Mexican government is ready to approve new taxes on sugary sodas and high-calorie snacks. Both initiatives have cleared Congress and await signatures from Mexican President Peña Nieto.

Under the proposed legislation, sodas and other sugary beverages would be taxed an additional 1 peso ($0.08) per liter of product. Junk foods, such as chips and candies, would be levied an additional 8% tax. Both proposals received objection from local food and beverage lobbyists, but the national obesity statistics were perhaps too glaring to ignore. Mexico is considered among the most overweight of developed nations, and WHO statistics indicate that 32% of the country is obese and nearly 70% is overweight. It is also said that Mexicans drink more Coca-Cola than consumers in any other country in the world.

Manufacturers of foods and drinks affected by the new legislation will likely absorb the tax increases by hiking up prices. But it’s safe to say this will generate interest in alternative sweeteners that impart fewer to zero calories.

Nutritional Outlook will continue reporting on this development and on what products will be taxed.