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Ipsos poll finds strong support for 0% VAT on healthy and climate-friendly food

28 March 2023

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ProVeg International welcomes outcome of poll, commissioned by TAPP Coalition

Most people in Germany, the Netherlands and France want 0% VAT imposed on healthy, sustainable foods and a slightly higher price on meat, according to a new poll carried out by global market researcher, Ipsos.

Nearly 60% of the 3,000 people surveyed were in favour of having the VAT regime changed to benefit healthy, sustainable foods, as well as raise meat prices, compensate low income families and subsidise farmers. 

“Changing the VAT regime in this way will go a long way towards encouraging people to shift to more planet-friendly, plant-based diets in Europe,” Jasmijn de Boo, Vice President of ProVeg International, said as she welcomed the outcome of the Ipsos poll this week.

“The IPCC has said this month that transitioning to more plant-based foods is crucial to preventing further climate chaos, so we urge the EU and member states to act fast to ensure these VAT measures are implemented,” de Boo added.

TAPP Coalition pushing for change

The Ipsos poll was commissioned by the True Animal Protein Price (TAPP) Coalition, which said that the poll results endorse an amendment already adopted in 2021 by the European Parliament. The amendment proposes 0% VAT on food that benefits public health and the environment and a higher rate on foods that have a negative environmental impact.

TAPP said that the VAT change would set a true price for meat and dairy, taking into account factors such as biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions and healthcare costs.

“Currently the external societal costs of the animal based products on our daily menus are not paid for,” Jeroom Remmers, director of the TAPP Coalition, said.

“We all know that the European Union can be more progressive than its member states, so the fact that there is broad support in key member states for changing the VAT regime in this way is a clear signal. It’s our firm belief that plenty more member states will follow us on this journey to fair prices,” Remmers said.

EU strategy 

The EU’s Farm to Fork strategy has already stated in 2020 that “EU tax systems should also aim to ensure that the price of different foods reflects their real costs in terms of use of finite natural resources, pollution, GHG emissions and other environmental externalities”.  

On top of this, the EU Commission has allowed a 0% VAT rate on sustainable or healthy food products. 

TAPP tells Brussels how to implement the rate

On 24 March, the TAPP Coalition handed to the EU Commission a plan detailing policy options in order to implement a food pricing restructure (see Annex). 

TAPP says the new structure can be formed by applying a VAT rate of up to 21% on meat, dairy and eggs by 2025. The change in rate will slightly increase prices of meat and dairy products. For example, in Germany the consumer price of a litre of milk would be raised by €0.10, while a pound of chicken would be €0.30 extra in the TAPP pricing structure. 

According to TAPP, consumers would be compensated by recycling this ‘true price’ tax increase by a new 0% VAT on vegetables, fruit, bread, grains, organic food, and meat and dairy alternatives. 

As a result, a well-filled shopping basket will remain the same price: the price increases on some products would be evened out by the price decreases on many other products. Tax rates can thus steer towards more realistic, true pricing with benefits for health, climate, animal welfare and quality farming; themes that matter to consumers according to Ipsos.

“One of the misconceptions about true pricing is that it will make animal based protein less attainable, especially to lower income groups. This is once again debunked by this research: everybody is still very much able to buy what they fancy. In fact, we are solving an issue that has been around for decades. Healthy food will become more affordable for everyone,” Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, former MEP and advisory board member of the TAPP Coalition, said.

Independent Dutch research agency, CE Delft, has calculated the plan and deemed it realistic and feasible.

ENDS

Notes to editors

For media inquiries, email Jeroom Remmers at [email protected] or Peter Rixon at [email protected]

About the TAPP Coalition 

TAPP is a Dutch coalition of different but like minded businesses, farmers, scientists and NGOs across the whole political spectrum who agree on one thing: the importance of introducing true prices for meat and dairy. In the Netherlands the coalition has successfully put true pricing on the political agenda, with a total of 63% of people supporting a true and slightly higher meat price, provided the funds are used for the benefit of the consumer and the farmer. This has led to various responsible Dutch ministers backing the plan and further investigating it for implementation. 

 

About ProVeg International 

ProVeg is an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultivated alternatives.

ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and the planet.

ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award. ProVeg also has Observer Status at the IPCC.

 

ANNEX

In short, the TAPP Coalition proposal

  • 0% VAT on fruit and vegetables and healthy/ sustainable food. The proposal entails that the VAT on fruit and vegetables is reduced to 0%. This rate will also apply to plant-based meat and dairy substitutes, nuts, bread, whole wheat products and organic food)
  • A fair, slightly higher price on meat, including all costs. This can be realised with applying a fair meat price in 2030 with all environmental costs like CO2 being incorporated into the meat price. As a result, in 2030 chicken meat will become €0.20 more expensive per 100 gram and beef and pork will become €0.57 and €0.45 more expensive per 100 gram (numbers for the Netherlands). For France:  As a result, in 2030 chicken meat will become €0.15 more expensive per 100 gram and beef and pork will become €0.81 and €0.17 per 100 gram more expensive. For Germany: As a result, in 2030 chicken meat will become €0.14 more expensive per 100 gram and beef and pork will become €0.88 and €0.18 per 100 gram more expensive. This can be implemented by a new consumer tax. Applying the normal (highest) VAT rate is another option with a lower price increase compared to the previous option.
  • Financial compensation for low income groups. For low-income households (20% lowest income groups) compensation is given, to make sure all consumers, poor or rich, can still afford to buy meat for its true price. This equals €120 per year per capita for the 20% lowest income groups. This could be money or free food vouchers for healthy, sustainable food.
  • Subsidies for farmers. Livestock farmers receive at least €10,000 extra per year for producing with higher standards for animal welfare and/or sustainability. This amount compensates for the increasingly higher costs they have to incur to produce in a more animal friendly or environmentally friendly way (e.g., reduce CO2 emissions, or for reducing animals per stable for better animal welfare and reducing pollution). Link to CE Delft report and link to Ipsos report 
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