To assess the tax rates that an individual will change their consumption frequency for sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) products i.e. Willingness to pay (WTP)
We conducted a cross-sectional study via a random telephone survey for adult residents in Hong Kong from May to June, 2020. SSBs products were referred to all non-alcoholic water based beverages with added sugar. WTP of a respondent was defined as the accepted price that he is willing to pay for the SSB products without a reduction of purchase given a taxation scenario, and the maximum WTP (WTPM) was defined as the highest accepted price that a respondent consuming SSB products. The questionnaire was designed consisting of socio-demographics, physical conditions, SSB consumption frequency, perception about SSB products, and WTP for each types of SSBs.
A total of 1,000 subjects were successfully interviewed and the response rate was 59.1%. We found the local population had a high consumption behavior of SSB products and even though a half of them perceived that a consumption of SSB products could contribute a risk of getting chronic diseases, only a moderate proportion of WTP (>60%) at a typical range of taxation (i.e. 5%-10%) was reported. Among the SSB products, we found a comparatively higher proportion of WTP in sweetened tea/coffee and the WTPM was less sensitive when the price was increased, primarily due to a regular consumption in the daily lives of local population. Compared with the adults, the proportions of WTP in children were relatively lower indicating a higher effect of SSB tax.
This is the very first study in the Chinese society to identify determinants for individuals’ WTP and evaluate the acceptability of taxation policy on SSB products. The findings thus help with designing SSB tax policy especially in the Chinese population.
© 2021 Published by Elsevier Inc.