More and more Belgians are buying their drinks across the border: “Our drinks are more expensive because of the sugar tax”

According to a study carried out by the FIEB, the sectoral association of the Belgian water and soft drink industry, almost one out of eight Belgians travels beyond our borders at least once a month to buy drinks. . Indeed, it turns out that drinks are now more expensive in Belgium because of a tax on packaging, called sugar tax. “The sugar tax (Editor’s note: tax which is levied on all drinks which contain sugar or sweeteners) has therefore completely missed its objective and our Belgian tax lasagna leads to a loss of income, both for our companies only for the governmentwarns the president of the FIEB, Bart Peeters.

Rising prices are pushing many Belgians to pay more and more attention to their wallet. 25% of the 1000 people questioned are now looking more and more at promotions, 21% consume less, 15% find cheaper alternatives but the majority of people questioned go shopping abroad. And this, even for Brussels residents who live inside the territory.

“It is therefore a fact that our drinks are more expensive in Belgium, compared to neighboring countries, since our country introduced in 2015 an additional tax on sugary drinks in addition to the tax on packaging. Let’s take the example a 1.5 liter bottle of soft drink which costs €1.53/l in Belgium (Carrefour); in the Netherlands, the same drink in the same bottle costs €1.27/l (17% cheaper ); in Germany (at REWE), it only costs €0.99/l, i.e. 35% less, and in France (Auchan), depending on the size of the bottle, it costs €1.08/l ( for a 1.75 liter bottle), i.e. 29% less, i.e. €1.22/l (for a 1.25 liter bottle), i.e. 20% less. These high excise duties erode the power of ‘purchase, especially for the lowest incomes’, details the president of the FIEB.

Before continuing: “When we find, thanks to our survey, that Belgians spend an average of 50 euros per month on non-alcoholic drinks and that more than a tenth of them shop at least once a month on the other side of the border, that’s a lot of money going overseas, so that means a big loss of revenue, both for beverage producers and distributors and for the government.”

Over the past five years, Belgian companies have lost around 370 million euros due to purchases made abroad.

The FIEB therefore wants this tax to be modified: “By lowering the tax, we are closing the gap with neighboring countries, making cross-border purchases less attractive and encouraging purchases in Belgium. This compensates for the reduction in taxation for the government, provides more income for our Belgian producers and brings more consumer convenience”concludes Bart Peeters.

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