The impact of tax reforms designed to encourage healthier grain consumption
In this paper, we simulate the effects of tax reforms aimed at encouraging healthier grain consumption. We use a rich data set on household grain consumption in 2003 from the market research institute GfK Sweden, combined with information on the nutritional content of the consumption. We estimate behavioral parameters, which are used to simulate the impact on the average household of tax reforms entailing either a subsidy on commodities particularly rich in fiber or a subsidy of the fiber density in grain products. Our results suggest that to direct the fiber intake towards nutritional recommendations, reforms with a substantial impact on consumer prices are required. Regardless of the type of subsidy implemented, the increase in the intake of fiber is accompanied by unwanted increases in nutrients that are often overconsumed: fat, salt and sugar. Funding the subsidies by taxing these nutrients, or less healthy commodities, helps to counteract such developments.
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