How should we evaluate sweetened beverage tax policies? A review of worldwide experience

Shu Wen Ng*, M. Arantxa Colchero, Martin White

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over 45 jurisdictions globally have implemented sweetened beverage taxes. Researchers and policymakers need to assess whether and how these taxes change beverage demand and supply, their intended and unanticipated health, economic and equity impacts. Lessons from such evaluations can maximise the policies’ success and impact on non-communicable disease prevention globally. We discuss key theoretical, design and methodological considerations to help policymakers, funders and researchers commission and conduct rigorous evaluations of these policies and related disease prevention efforts. We encourage involving the perspectives of various stakeholders on what evaluations are needed given the specific context, what data and methods are appropriate, readily available or can be collected within time and budget constraints. A logic model /conceptual system map of anticipated implications across sectors and scales should help identify optimal study design, analytical techniques and measures. These models should be updated when synthesising findings across diverse methods and integrating findings across subpopulations using similar methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1941
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
SWN’s position is partly funded by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and partly funded by research grants from the US National Institutes of Health (DK098072, DK056350, P2C HD050924), Arnold Ventures and Bloomberg Philanthropies. MAC’s position is funded by the Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública in Mexico, and complemented with research grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies, US National Institutes of Health, National Council on Science and Technology and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. MW holds a tenured post funded by the University of Cambridge. He holds research programme and project funding from The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) (grant number 16/130/01) to evaluate the UK Soft Drinks Industry Levy. MW also receives other grant funding from NIHR and his research programme is supported by funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) via the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge [grant number MC/UU/12015/6] and Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), a UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) Public Health Research Centre of Excellence. Funding for CEDAR from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research [grant numbers ES/G007462/1 and MR/K023187/1], and the Wellcome Trust [grant number 087636/Z/08/Z], under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration is gratefully acknowledged. Funders had no role in the writing of this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Evaluation
  • Logic models
  • Policy
  • Sugar-sweetened beverage
  • Tax


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