Significant initiative: Grocery chain cuts VAT on fruits and vegetables

by Nathalia Hentze Nielsen

In an effort to promote healthier eating habits among Danes, 365discount has announced a significant initiative.

From January 25th to January 31st, 2024, the supermarket chain will cut the VAT on all fruits and vegetables in their stores nationwide.

This was reported by 365discount in a press release.

At the same time, there is a call to the Danish Parliament (Christiansborg) to permanently reduce the VAT rate on fruits and vegetables to promote healthier food choices for everyone.

365discount’s decision to cut the VAT on fruits and vegetables is part of the chain’s ongoing commitment to the health of the Danish population and is a response to the rising inflation affecting consumers’ choices of healthier foods.

“We are facing a serious challenge, where 48% of Danes have changed their eating habits due to higher prices and are increasingly eating less healthily,” Michael Tilsted, CEO of 365discount, says in the press release, continuing:

“Our goal is to make healthy choices available to all Danes. By cutting the VAT on fruits and vegetables, even for a short period, we want to demonstrate to the politicians in Christiansborg how prices affect consumer choices.”

Not a cheap initiative

365discount has long wanted to see differentiated VAT on fruits and vegetables in Denmark.

With this week’s initiative, the chain takes a concrete step towards realizing this goal:

“It is, of course, an investment for us to cut the VAT on fruits and vegetables for an entire week.

But we are willing to pay the price to send a signal regarding public health and to be able to demonstrate with data how significant prices are in the selection of healthier foods,” Michael Tilsted adds.

In a survey from November 2023 conducted for organizations including the Danish Cancer Society, the Health Authority, the Diabetes Association, and the Heart Association, 81% of respondents support the idea of lower prices on healthy foods to promote a healthier life.

In 2022, 365discount cut the VAT in a similar initiative, where the numbers spoke for themselves.

“In 2022, Danes bought 23% more fruit and 44% more vegetables during the period when we cut the VAT.

At the same time, we can see strong support among Danes for permanently lowering prices on healthy foods. But in the long run, we cannot do it alone.

It requires a joint effort from both the retail industry and politicians, and therefore, we hope that this effort will provide us with additional data that we can use to argue for a permanent change in tax regulations,” Michael Tilsted concludes.

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