The concept of a fat tax is a heavily debated topic around the world (given increasing
levels of obesity and overweight) as a measure to be used by legislators to control the
consumption of food items that are seen to cause obesity and overweight. The purpose of
a fat tax can be likened to that of a sin tax (used to control consumption of products seen
as vices to society).
Little research has been carried out on fat tax in South Africa as the debate surrounding
the levels of obesity has only been initiated on a national level in recent years. However,
given the significant threat which high levels of obesity and overweight pose to South
Africans (the fourth fattest nation in the world), the viability of any measure that would curb
the consumption of unhealthy foods by South Africans should be investigated.
The purpose of this study is to determine whether the introduction of a fat tax would affect
consumer consumption habits by deterring consumers from purchasing unhealthy foods
and in this way begin to lower the levels of obesity observed in the country.
This study consists of a review of various literature in favour of, and against the
implementation of sin and fat taxes, a detailed investigation into the effect of the levying of
sin taxes by the South African Minister of Finance on tobacco and alcohol consumption
and a survey researching the possible impact that an implemented fat tax would have on
consumer consumption patterns in South Africa.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2013.