'Nutella Tax' Approved In France; Is Obesity The Reason?
The French Senate has imposed a new amendment on Wednesday that stands to triple the tax on palm and other vegetable oils with the intent to cut obesity in the country.
A tax that is meant to act as a way to encourage better eating habits, the French government faces heavy opposition from the food-worshipping culture. In fact, the backlash has even caused the tax to be named "Nutella Tax," a staple chocolate-hazelnut dessert spread that possesses a significant amount of the oils targeted by the new tax amendment.
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Nutella is 17 percent palm oil and 55 percent sugar. Gram for gram, it packs 76 percent more calories than a cheeseburger from McDonald's. Yet despite the wild excess, Nutella is a staple in the French diet. In fact, France alone is responsible for the consumption of 26 percent of the world's Nutella, far and away the leading country of Nutella eaters in the world.
For Socialist Party Senator Yves Daudigny, he hopes the new tax on oils will encourage food companies to modify their products by switching to healtheir ingredients.
In response, a top official of Ferraro, the company responsible for producing Nutella, has told French newspapers that the company has no intentions of modifying the ingredients of its flagship spread. If anything, Nutella would simply raise the price of each jar by just a few pennies to neutralize the taxes.
On the other hand, the tax will have bigger implications for countries Indonesia and Malaysia, which are the two largest exporters of palm oil.
While the "Nutella Tax" has been approved, it is only a part of a larger package of austerity tax hikes which has yet to get by the senate. That said, even if the French senate eventually rejects the package, Nutella may be implemented in another form anyway.
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