ENSA believes that plant-based and dairy products should be treated equally in terms of tax (fiscal neutrality), as they are used in the same way and at the same consumption moments by consumers. In the case of soy, they are also fully-fledged nutritional alternatives, as a source of high-quality protein for those who cannot or do not want to have animal protein.
Equal treatment for plant-based 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 an appropriate tax treatment that does not impede consumption of 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.
A number of Member States have introduced measures to tax sugary drinks in an effort to reduce obesity. However, in most cases, plant-based drinks are misplaced in the category of soft drinks, and subject to these taxes. Unlike soft drinks, plant-based drinks count their nutritional value and use by consumers as food e.g. they are not designed to quench thirst. Dairy products, by contrast, are in a separate food category and are not covered by the tax. As it is the case in many EU Member States which have implemented such soft drinks taxes, ENSA believes plant-based products should be exempted in the same way as dairy products.