ProVeg International says VAT rate cut from 9% to 0% would support healthy eating
Food awareness organisation ProVeg International has welcomed plans by the Dutch Government to reduce the VAT rate on fruit and vegetables to zero as part of efforts to encourage healthy eating.
“We really welcome the government plans to lower the VAT on fruit and vegetables which we believe will support a shift to healthier, plant-based diets,” Pablo Moleman, Manager Food Industry and Foodservice of ProVeg Netherlands, said.
“Plant-based diets are shown to have a much lower impact on the environment than diets based on animal foods, so a zero VAT rate will also contribute towards putting the brake on climate change,” Moleman added.
Until recently, the EU applied a minimum VAT rate to this category of 5% so any change would have required consultation with the European Commission.
However, EU finance ministers have since agreed to offer Member States the option to set the rate at 0%, under EU Directive No. 2022/542, which was published in the EU’s Official Journal on 6 April 2022.
Last month in Germany, the Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir, called for the scrapping of VAT on fruit and vegetables to combat rising food prices as well as supporting healthy diets.
“We urge all EU Member States to consider reducing VAT on fruit and vegetables to support the booming plant-based sector. And we encourage them to include plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy as well,” Moleman said.
Farm to Fork
The EU’s Farm to Fork strategy already encourages the use of VAT rates to act as an incentive to support organic fruit and vegetables.
ProVeg is actively campaigning to prevent the watering down of the strategy in the face of food security concerns triggered by the war in Ukraine.
The European Commission has come under pressure to postpone implementation of the strategy and make more land available for farming to boost food production.
ProVeg believes this is short-sighted, urging instead that EU ministers should encourage the shift to a plant-based diet and reduce the amount of grains poured into animal feed.