Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption in Ireland
Context: Following recommended dietary guidelines, Ireland has since 2010 implemented a 0% Value Added Tax (VAT) on fruits and vegetables to increase consumption. Eleven years after policy implementation, the Irish still do not meet recommended intake for fruit and vegetable consumption, consuming 3.9 portions a day compared to 7 daily portions recommended.
Policy Options: Four alternatives for improvement were assessed and compared: 1) retain the status quo of reduced VAT for healthy foods, 2) VAT only for locally produced fruits and vegetables, 3) increased VAT for salty and sweet foods with a subsidy for fruits and vegetables, and 4) an education-based policy. Four evaluation criteria were applied for the comparison: economic feasibility, effectiveness, political feasibility, and equity.
Recommendations: The status quo remains the best option for Ireland. However, further assessment of this 0% VAT policy on fruits and vegetables is warranted, pending the availability of additional data to enable an in-depth understanding of policy implementation.
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