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Changes in beverage purchases following the announcement and implementation of South Africa's Health Promotion Levy: an observational study

Nicholas Stacey, Ijeoma Edoka, Karen Hofman, Elizabeth C Swart, Barry Popkin and Shu Wen Ng

LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library

Abstract: BACKGROUND: In 2016, South Africa announced an intention to levy a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). In 2018, the country implemented an SSB tax of approximately 10%, known as the Health Promotion Levy (HPL). We aimed to assess changes in the purchases of beverages before and after the HPL announcement and implementation. METHODS: We used Kantar Europanel data on monthly household purchases between January, 2014, and March, 2019, among a sample of South African households (n=113 653 household-month observations) from all nine provinces to obtain per-capita sugar, calories, and volume from taxable and non-taxable beverages purchased before and after the HPL announcement and implementation. We describe survey-weighted means for each period, and regression-controlled predictions of outcomes and counterfactuals based on pre-HPL announcement trends, with bootstrapped 95% CIs, and stratify results by socioeconomic status. FINDINGS: Mean sugar from taxable beverage purchases fell from 16·25 g/capita per day (95% CI 15·80-16·70) to 14·26 (13·85-14·67) from the pre-HPL announcement to post-announcement period, and then to 10·63 g/capita per day (10·22-11·04) in the year after implementation. Mean volumes of taxable beverage purchases fell from 518·99 mL/capita per day (506·90-531·08) to 492·16 (481·28-503·04) from pre-announcement to post announcement, and then to 443·39 mL/capita per day (430·10-456·56) after implementation. Across these time periods, there was a small increase in the purchases of non-taxable beverages, from 283·45 mL/capita per day (273·34-293·56) pre-announcement to 312·94 (296·29-329·29) post implementation. When compared with pre-announcement counterfactual trends, reductions in taxable beverage purchase outcomes were significantly larger than the unadjusted survey-weighted observed reductions. Households with lower socioeconomic status purchased larger amounts of taxable beverages in the pre-announcement period than did households with higher socioeconomic status, but demonstrated bigger reductions after the tax was implemented. INTERPRETATION: The announcement and introduction of South Africa's HPL were followed by reductions in the sugar, calories, and volume of beverage purchases. FUNDING: Bloomberg Philanthropies, International Development Research Centre, South African Medical Research Council, and the US National Institutes of Health.

Keywords: 108424–001 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E6 N0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 9 pages
Date: 2021-04-01
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
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Published in The Lancet Planetary Health, 1, April, 2021, 5(4), pp. e200 - e208. ISSN: 2542-5196

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