Disincentivize ultra-processed food and sugar

This solution was shared by Beatriz Neves , 10 June 2022

Print date: 24 October 2023 22:39

Description of the innovative solution

Information/communication Packaging Finance Market development Market access Consumer choice Food environment - personal Food environment - external Retail promotion Tax Behavior change Diet diversity Healthy diet Nutritional guideline Nutrition standard

Ultra-processed foods (UPFs) are formulations of ingredients created by a series of industrial techniques and often lead to products high in added sugars, trans and saturated fats, sodium and energy density, and low in fibre and protein. Consumers identify UFPs through its long list of ingredients. To-date, the ingredient labelling has not not fully been standardized in many countries and can mislead consumer food choices. Since foods that are ultra-processed are generally affordable, this leads to higher consumption rates of foods high in fats, sugars, and salts -- thereby increasing obesity and comorbidity rates. Especially in urban settings, global marketing and advertising can influence the direct personal food environment leading to an increased consumption of UPFs. Thus, the promotion and marketing of UPFs should be limited, particularly to children and adolescents, as well as in places where critical food decisions are taken. This innovation proposes to reform the "business as usual model" by introducing market-based instruments to disincentivize UPFs’ purchase. This could come as Pigouvian taxes, marketing and advertising restrictions and package warning labels. The taxes on UPFs could equal the social cost of negative dietary and planetary outcomes, and the collected funds could be used to finance healthier alternatives.

Supply chain segment

Regulatory aspects

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Gaining traction


Food quality Food availability Food affordability Food desirability Climate mitigation

SDG target

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production


Urban Peri-urban

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