9 German federal states support introducing soft drink tax

9 German federal states support introducing soft drink tax

Germany’s Minister for Food and Agriculture Cem Özdemir (Greens), wants to introduce a soft drink tax; nine federal states have now said they would support introducing the levy.

Germany mulls adopting tax on fizzy drinks

State governments in Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony, Thuringia and Saarland have said that they would support introducing a nationwide tax on drinks with a high sugar content.

According to minutes from a meeting between Germany’s 16 state consumer protection ministers, “Despite voluntary commitments and promises made by the German [soft drinks] industry, the average sugar content has not fallen in recent years by the extent required for a healthy diet.”

Recent research conducted by Ludwig-Maximillian-Universität and TU Munich found that between 2015 and 2021, the sugar content of soft drinks in Germany fell by just 2 percent and assessed that “the existing strategy in Germany, kindly asking production companies to reduce the amount of sugar in drinks, is not effective”. 

Support from the nine federal states is expected to give Özdemir’s policy proposal a boost. The federal minister has long wanted to implement legislation in Germany based on the UK government’s Soft Drinks Industry Levy or “sugar tax” introduced in 2018.

Sugar tax estimated to save Germany 16 billion in 20 years

According to another study by TU Munich, introducing a tax on high-sugar drinks would save Germany 16 billion euros over the next 20 years, since health problems related to obesity, type-2 diabetes and circulation problems could be better avoided. 

Research by the University of Cambridge found that five years after its introduction, the UK sugar tax had prevented 5.000 cases of childhood obesity among children at primary school.

Under the UK law, drinks companies must pay a levy of between 18 and 24 pence per litre if their drinks’ sugar content exceeds 5 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres. 

Thumb image credit: Jan von Uxkull-Gyllenband /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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