food tax

Professor Mike Rayner, Dr Pete Scarborough and their team in the British Heart Foundation Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention modelled the effect of a 20% tax on sugary soft drinks in the UK, finding a distinct reduction in rates of obesity, particularly among young people.


Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity Seminars – Michaelmas Term 2014

Conveners: Stanley Ulijaszek and Paulina Nowicka

Speaker: Peter Scarborough, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford

Title: Evidence of the effectiveness of health-related food taxes

Date: Thursday 20 November 2014

Time: 1pm - 2pm

Venue: 61 Banbury Road (seminar room), Oxford OX2 6PE

Seminars generally involve a 35-40 minute presentation followed by approximately 20 minutes of questions and discussion. Anyone is welcome to attend.


Food taxes - what role might they have in the battle against obesity?

Date: Monday 7th April

Time: 1.30pm - 4.30pm

Venue: Governors Hall, St Thomas' Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7EH

To register, please complete and return the form below.

Live-streaming registration:

Can’t make it to the event? You can join us for the live streaming from the comfort of where you are!

Register using the form below and you'll be able to watch the event live on your computer, tablet or phone - and get involved in the debate by submitting questions to our speakers.

The registration charge for live streaming is £30.00 (concession £15) per person. You will be sent instructions by email on accessing the event in advance of the conference. All registered delegates will be able to view the recordings for 3 months after the conference.


Download this file BNF Food Taxes half-day symposium booking form.doc
Download this file BNF Food Taxes half-day symposium live-streaming booking form.doc


Are lower carbon diets healthier? Adam Briggs explains new research to model the effects of taxing greenhouse gas-intensive foods.


A new publication in BMJ Open by Oxford researchers looks at the possible impact on chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, if the UK were to introduce a tax on greenhouse gas emissions on food and drink.

Read the full article in BMJ Open:

Assessing the impact on chronic disease of incorporating the societal cost of greenhouse gases into the price of food: an econometric and comparative risk assessment modelling study, Adam D M Briggs, Ariane Kehlbacher, Richard Tiffin, Tara Garnett, Mike Rayner, Peter Scarborough, BMJ Open 2013;3:e003543 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003543


A report has just been released on the health impacts of a proposed 10% tax on sugary drinks in Ireland.

The working group who produced this report, commissioned by the Irish Minister for Health, had the expertise of Mike Rayner and his team from Oxford University who carried out modelling work on the financial tax implication for Ireland.

Conclusions based on evidence presented by the HIA process:

  • Obesity is multifaceted with many factors influencing the basic drivers of energy intake and energy expenditure including environment, socio-economic, psycho-social and genetic factors.
  • Sugar Sweetened Drinks (SSDs) are a source of energy intake with little or no other nutrient contribution to the diet.
  • Price increases tend to decrease demand by the degree to which this happens is variable because consumer behaviour and industry response to a tax is difficult to predict.
  • There is evidence linking Sugar Sweetened Drinks consumption with increases in energy intake.
  • The evidence linking Sugar Sweetened Drinks consumption with weight gain is suggestive but not conclusive.

The Working Group were broadly of the view that there was evidence to suggest that SSDs are associated with weight gain and that an SSD levy should not be seen as a revenue generating issue but rather a measure to change behaviour. They agreed that if this tax were implemented there would be a need for good monitoring and evaluation.

Read the entire report here


Mike Rayner outlines the need for a tax on sugary soft drinks in the UK in the Food Programme on BBC Radio 4, in the edition entitled: Can Andrew Lansley change your diet?