Side Meetings


Equity on a Plate: Tackling Commercial Determinants of Health with Nutrition-Targeted Taxes


  • 14:00 - 17:30 HRS. (BKK)

  • Venue : Lotus Suite 4

  • Contact Person : Milin Sakornsin Ruddit,

  • World Bank
  • Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth)

Nutrition-targeted taxes are imposed on foods and non-alcoholic beverages that adversely impact health, directly tackling the influence of the food and beverage industry. These include sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), but also salty, sugary, and high-fat foods. As consumption of these products is usually higher in lower-income groups, heath and productivity benefits are concentrated among the poorest, making these taxes highly effective at restoring equity. However, successful navigation of entrenched commercial determinants is necessary to harness these policies for improved health and equity.


ThaiHealth and the World Bank have convened a panel of high-level policymakers and practitioners so that the session is focused on real-world experiences, providing an opportunity to learn directly from those leading the reforms. This will be an action-orientated session using a range of interactive formats to draw out practical learning on the benefits of these taxes and how to implement them. It will align and continue learning from the proposed side meeting on non-communicable diseases hosted by the world Bank.


Mexico led the way for many subsequent taxes, with a tax on SSBs and non-esssential unhealthy foods in 2014. The new World Bank Global SSB Tax Database provides lessons for how to optimize existing taxes. For example, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries have adopted a harmonized regional approach to taxing SSBs at amongst the highest rates in the world. Saudi Arabia was the first to introduce a SSB tax and is now considering extending the tax to unhealthy foods. Thailand introduced a SSB tax in 2017, with emerging positive outcomes. Finally, the Philippines has used revenue from nutrition-targeted and other health taxes to expand universal health coverage. The session will close with a panel discussion, enabling audience members to pose questions to maximize insights on these complex challenges.

The objective of this half-day side meeting is to familiarize participants with the current status and opportunities of nutrition-targeted taxes for health and equity outcomes.