Kerala imposes ‘Fat Tax’ on Junk Food

Fast food like burgers and tacos, doughnuts, sandwiches, pasta and even pizza have been slapped with a tax of 14.5% in Kerala, India.

Kerala Fat TAx

Kerala have the second highest rate of obesity in India.

Kerala has become the first Indian state to impose a 14.5 per cent tax on the less healthy food options available to their citizens.

Well-known fast food chains, including Domino’s, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Burger King, KFC and Subway, are just some of the businesses that will be hit by the ‘fat tax’.

Kerala have the second highest rate of obesity in India.

According to the state’s finance minister Thomas Isaac, the new tax is a ‘preventive measure’.

The Indian state joins countries like Finland, Hungary and Italy in using taxation to discourage consumption of junk food.

In 2011, Finland imposed extra taxes on chocolate, sweets, cocoa-based products and ice cream.

In the same year, Hungary took a larger cut from pre-packed sweetened products.

France imposed a sugar tax on all beverages with added sugar and artificial sweeteners in 2012.

However, none of the trio dared to put a tax on the mighty pizza like Kerala have.

India also happens to have the third highest rate of obesity in the world, behind the U.S. and China.

Pizza Hut’s managing director Unnat Varma has labelled the move as ‘business-unfriendly’.

Indeed, it seems like a strange move to make from a business perspective, seeing as Indians are the second largest pizza consuming populous in the world, only topped by the United States.

The tax seems to be very selective. It singles out the multinational food chains, whilst leaving the Indian cuisine alone which is packed with just as many carbohydrates and saturated fats.

The local government hopes to increase overall revenue by 25 per cent through this initiative.

They also state that every rupee is going towards funding development and infrastructure projects like bridges, roads and IT parks.

Whether this will be the case and if Kerala’s inhabitants’ waistlines will see a shrinkage is yet to be seen, but will be fascinating viewing to say the least.

Amo is a history graduate with a fondness for nerd culture, sport, video games, YouTube, podcasts and mosh pits: "Knowing is not enough, we must APPLY. Willing is not enough, we must DO."