ENSA believes that soy and dairy products should be treated equally in terms of tax (fiscal neutrality), as soy products are nutritionally equivalent to dairy products, and used in the same way by consumers.

Equal treatment for soy and dairy products would ensure fair competition on the European market and meet the objective of promoting healthy food products. Other plant-based products face similar challenges and deserve equally fair tax treatments that do not impede consumption of nutritional healthy products.

VAT on Soy

Certain Member States apply reduced rates (or even zero rates) to specific categories of foodstuffs including milk and milk products. Soy foods, on the other hand, do not benefit from similar reduced rates. This has an impact on consumers, particularly lactose intolerant individuals, as soy drinks prices are kept artificially high by VAT rates. For ENSA members, this creates an unequal basis for competition, which should be addressed at both national land EU levels.

Country VAT rate cow milk VAT rate soy drink
Austria 10% 20%
Belgium 6% 6%
Finland 14% 14%
France 5.5% 5.5%
Germany 7% 19%
Italy 4%* 21%
Netherlands 6% 6%
Portugal 6% 23%
Spain 4% 10%
Sweden 6% 12%
UK 0% 0%

*10% for UHT milk

Excise duties

A number of Member States have introduced measures to tax sugary drinks in an effort to reduce obesity. However, in most cases, soy foods are misplaced in the category of soft drinks, and subject to these taxes. Unlike soft drinks, however, soy drinks and other plant-based drinks count their nutritional value as food.

Dairy products, by contrast, are in a separate food category and are not covered by the tax. As soy and dairy products have a similar nutritional profile, they should be subject to the same conditions in terms of taxation.