Since 2014 a special tax on production and services (IEPS) was applied in Mexico to sugary beverages. MX$1 per liter for drinks containing more than 5 grams of added sugars for every 100 ml. It was an action designated to control the consumption of high sugar products in the population and to mitigate public health issues such obesity and diabetes.
However, after two years of the application of this measure and despite IEPS supporters saying the consumption of sugary drinks has decreased, leaders of the carbonated drink industry say they have not seen any changes and that in fact their sales have grown.
The National Association of Producers of Soda and Carbonated Water.ANPRAC), a civil association that represents refreshment industries such as Coca Cola and Gepp Group, insist that consumption has lowered only 5.3 percent since the tax was established. However, Alejandro Calvillo, director of the organization El Poder del Consumidor, a civil association that defends consumers’ rights, says that the data is not totally transparent because it measures the population as a whole, including people who never consume this type of drinks. According to him, it will be easier to see the impact of the IEPS, if it measured only those who consume them.
The Center for Science of Public Interest (CSIP), an US-based non-profit and consumer advocacy group, developed a report called Carbonizing the World, which reveals that Mexico is one of the top consumers of carbonated drinks with an ingestion of 135 liters per capita in 2013. According to FAO´s Food Balance Sheet for the same year, in Mexico the average daily calorie intake is 3,072 per person while the recommended international measure is 2,000.
ANPRAC developed a platform called Impuestoscaloricos.com where they have published data from several pieces of research proving the IEPS has not decreased caloric consumption significantly. Data from the Monthly Survey of the Manufacturing Industry (EMIM) of the INEGI says the IEPS has not affected total sales volumes. According to the survey, in 2013 before the IEPS was applied, there were sales for 18,6 billion liters, in 2015 they were reduced by 0.2 percent and by June this year they had even grown by 2.2 percent.
In July, a pressure group proposed doubling the IEPS to sugary drinks to two pesos per liter. The Federal Budget for 2017 will insist on using some of the resources collected by the IEPS to promote prevention campaigns for obesity and treatments against hypertension.
El poder del consumidor