SSB Taxes - Case studies

Beverage purchases from stores in Mexico under the excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages: observational study

Mexico has been battling an overweight and obesity epidemic, affecting more than 33% for young people aged 2-18 years and around 70% for adults. Worryingly, the prevalence increased by 12% between 2000 and 2006 and reached 72% among adults in 2012. In addition, the country has the highest prevalence of diabetes among the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development Countries. Simultaneously, the country has also seen an increase in the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages with the largest soft drinks intake per capita in 2011. To respond to this health emergency, the government passed an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and on several highly energy-dense foods in September 2013.

This study specifically evaluates changes in the purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages after the implementation of the excise tax. It examines the short-term change in purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages one-year post-implementation of the 1 peso per litre tax. The study revealed that the average volume of taxed beverages monthly purchased was 6% lower in 2014 compared to expected results should the tax had not been implemented. In addition, this decline accelerated and reached 12% by December 2014. The study reveals that the impact was stronger among households of low socio-economic status and that the decrease of taxed beverages led to an increase in purchases of untaxed beverages, mainly bottled water. Consequently, the study reveals that the demand was price elastic and that even a small change in price affected the demand. Overall, the study shows the successful impact of an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages on consumers’ purchases.