Body 1: Agree Food consumption -> price sensitive -> use pricing policies to affect weight outcomes -> increase the price of fattening foods -> discourage the purchase of these foods
Body 2: Disagree High priced calorie-dense foods -> cheaper than healthy foods -> imposing higher tax on fattening foods is unlikely to change consumers’ eating habits -> not completely prevent obesity
The intervention in the food and beverage pricing as in increasing high calorie food prices is believed to resolve the public health crisis of obesity. I agree that this solution can partly help ease the problem of corpulence but it is not the optimal remedy.
Food consumption is price-sensitive, which motivates the possibility for using pricing policies to affect weight outcomes. According to a study published in December 2018 in the Journal of Health Sciences, a 50 percent reduction in restaurant prices of fruit and salad led to a quadrupling of fruit sales and a doubling of salad sales. In another study from Yale University, price increases of 15, 25, and 50 percent were associated with decreases in the cafeteria’s high-fat snack sales of 11, 40, and 95 percent, respectively. These findings suggest that the increase in the price of fattening foods can discourage the purchase of these foods, which in turn will help shift people’s eating habits towards a healthier direction.
However, increasing prices of high calorie foods might not be able to completely prevent obesity. High priced calorie-dense foods will still remain cheaper than healthy vegetables, fruits and bio-food; therefore, imposing higher tax on fattening foods is unlikely to change consumers’ eating habits. For example, a survey shows that a quarter of students in Berkeley ate fast food every day. After the school district adopted a rise in cafeteria fast food in 2016, there still has not been any decline in the fast food consumption among students. This seems to pour cold water on other efforts to solve obesity problems by regulating the prices of fattening foods.
To conclude, some assistance in reducing obesity may be gained by rising prices of fattening foods. However, with some limitations, this has yet to be the best solution.