France intends to tax highly calorific products

Obesity is a growing concern in France, where the overweight rate increases by 4% every year. Today, more than 30% of the French population is overweight, and 15% of them are obese. The economic impact of obesity (on healthcare system, productivity loss, etc.) is estimated at 20,4 billion euros per year. To tackle this issue, the French Ministry of Finances published on September 2nd a note about its intention to replace all existing French taxes on oil, sodas and energizing drinks by a common tax based on the level of calories contained in the food as well as their nutritional quality. In Mexico, where a similar tax was implemented, it had positive effects on people’s purchasing habits. For instance, the sales of sodas dropped by 12% the following year.

Professor Serge Hercberg, President of the PNNS, the French national plan for health and nutrition, is in favour of the establishment of such a tax. Besides, the World Health Organisation encourages this kind of measure to induce change in people’s consumption habits. Prof. Hercberg insisted on the fact that the price is a determinant factor in the nutritional behaviour of consumers. It is known to be the first criterion of choice for food, even before the habit of buying the product and the taste.  He hopes that this tax would also have an upstream effect on the food industry, giving them an incentive to reduce the quantity of sugar, fat, salt and calories in their products.

The detractors of a tax on highly calorific products argue that it will primarily affect the lower income households. That is why Prof. Hercberg underlines the necessity to implement measures fostering the consumption of healthy food, such as a VAT reduction or dedicated vouchers to buy fruits and vegetables for underprivileged people.

NB: The FOOD programme’s communication tools in France received the PNNS logo, supporting its dissemination.



septembre 16, 2016   No Comments

5 years of FOOD barometers: a rising heed to healthy eating

September 12th, 2016

The share of employees paying attention to the balance of their lunch has never been higher.

Concurrently, restaurants have been observing a constant rise in the demand for healthy meals.

Please click here to see to download the press release: FOOD barometers results 2016

The 2016 FOOD barometers’ results were presented on September 8th at the occasion of the International Congress of Dietetics (ICD) in Granada, Spain. The survey targeted two main groups, employees and restaurants, so as to better understand lunch habits and menu choices during the working day.

2016 employees’ barometers key figures:
·        Close to 50% of employees state that the balance of the dish can influence their food choice at lunch time, right after what they want to eat at the present time (51,7%) and before the price (42,7%)
·        Almost 80% of the workers consider nutritional quality as important or even very important when choosing a restaurant for their lunch break
·        Close to 70% of employees think it is important or even very important that restaurants use locally produced / seasonal food
2016 restaurants’ barometers key figures:
·        40% of restaurants’ owners and staff have observed an increase in the demand for balanced meals
·        36% of restaurants have noticed an increase in the sales of healthy meals
·        53% of restaurants disagree that it is more expensive to cook healthy meals

In 2016, the balance of the dish is the second most chosen criterion for selecting what to eat at lunch time, with almost 50% of the employees paying specific attention to that aspect, right after what they want at the present time and even before the price of the meal. Since the launch of the first FOOD barometers in 2012, the share of employees selecting this criterion has generally been growing and has reached a peaking point in 2016, showing that workers have given more and more heed to the balance of their meals.

Likewise, in 2016, 40% of restaurant owners and staff observed an increase in the demand for balanced meals. This share has continuously grown, confirming the rising interest in having healthy options in restaurants over the last 5 years.

With Austria participating for the first time, the FOOD barometers’ coverage has never been as broad as in 2016. This year it included 8 countries in total (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Portugal, Slovak Republic and Spain), with 11.749 workers and 1.526 restaurants’ owners and staff answering the survey.


septembre 12, 2016   No Comments