Highlighted in orange are countries that have reduced their value added tax (VAT) rates on fruit and vegetables to the minimum level allowed by European Union law. Some countries have a reduced value added tax (VAT) also for food stuff in general. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 400g of fruit and vegetables per day. The EAT-Lancet Commission has found that a major increase in fruit and vegetables intake would allow for healthy and tasty eating while staying within the planet’s boundaries. There is overwhelming evidence that relative prices are important factors in shaping food demand. Positive price incentives for fruit and vegetables are therefore part and parcel of an effective policy mix to create healthy, sustainable food environments.

Today, EU Member States can apply VAT rates of choice within the boundaries set by the VAT Directive. A standard rate of minimum 15% should in principle be applied to all goods and services. Reduced rates of minimum 5% are allowed for certain categories of goods, including food products. Super reduced rates below 5% are allowed for certain countries, primarily for historical reasons, while certain goods and services are exempt from VAT. Recent EU developments on VAT point towards more flexibility for Member States to set rates. For this mapping, the 5% rate was chosen as indicative of the intention to maximise affordability of fruit and vegetables.

Countries with minimum VAT on fruit & vegetables

Cyprus – 5%

Ireland – 0%

Italy – 4% (also for dairy products)

Latvia – 5%

Liechtenstein – 2,5% (also for food stuff in general)

Luxembourg – 3%

Malta – 0%

Spain – 4%

Switzerland – 2,5% (also for food stuff in general)

United Kingdom – 0% (also for foodstuffs in general, with some exceptions)

In progress

New agreement reached by EU finance ministers to update the current rules governing value-added tax (VAT) rates for goods and services. Once the rules come into force, Member States will notably be able to exempt from VAT certain listed goods that protect public health and are good for the environment.

Policies for healthy living environments

POLICY MAPPING / FOOD ENVIRONMENTS

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Latest update: December 10, 2021

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