The effectiveness and feasibility of taxes on salt and foods high in sodium: what’s the evidence?

Published in Advances in Nutrition, Dodd et al conducted a systematic review to investigate the effectiveness and feasibility of salt taxation as a policy measure to improve population health. The review searched peer-reviewed and grey literature published between January 2009 and October 2019. A total of 18 relevant studies were reviewed, consisting of modelling (n=8), real-world evaluation (4), experimental design (2), and cost-effectiveness (1). Findings from modelling suggests that taxing all foods based on their salt content is likely to have more impact than taxing specific products high in salt, however, the limited real-world experience found in the review suggests that the latter is favoured by policy makers. Findings from real-world taxes suggested that substitution to cheaper high-salt food products was an unintended outcome in Hungary and Tonga, highlighting the need for disaggregated data as the changes in consumption of sugar and fat are not necessarily replicated for salt. Read more here.