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Chile has undergone major demographic, epidemiological, and nutrition transitions over the past 50 years and currently has the highest prevalence of obesity in Latin America. Non-communicable diseases account for 83% of all deaths in Chile, for which over-nutrition and obesity are both major determinants. Massive increases in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) has helped fuel these trends. From 2009–2014, Chile saw the fastest absolute growth of SSB sales in the world, and in 2014, Chile had the highest per-person daily calories sold from SSBs in the world. To combat these trends, Chile has implemented the most comprehensive set of obesity-preventive regulations to date in the world, including a sugary drink tax, a front-of-package warning label system, and restrictions on marketing and advertising of unhealthy foods and drinks. Staggered implementation of these regulations across four years allows us to evaluate the policies’ independent and joint impacts.

Implemented Policies

Beverage tax law (Ley 20.780) | Implemented October 2014

Tax on sugary drinks | Implemented October, 2014

For all non-alcoholic drinks with added sweeteners:

  • 18% ad valorem tax on drinks containing >6.25 g sugar/100 mL (5% increase from previous rate of 13%)
  • 10% ad valorem tax on drinks with <6.25 g sugar/100 mL (3% decrease from previous rate of 13%)

Exempt: 100% fruit juice and dairy-based beverages

Read law in: Spanish | English

Law of Nutritional Composition of Food and Advertising (Ley 20.606) | Implemented June 2016

This law introduced mandatory front-of package labeling, marketing restrictions, and school sales/marketing policies, which all use same nutrient profiling model to identify which products are subject to regulation. Packaged food and beverage products containing added sugars, sodium, or saturated fat and exceeding set thresholds for content of total sugar, sodium, saturated fat, or overall calories are considered “high in” products subject to all regulations. The law was implemented in three phases (2016, 2018, and 2019) with increasingly strict nutrient thresholds.

Chilean Warning LabelsFront-of-package warning labels

“High in” products must carry black octagon “stop sign” warning labels for each nutrient in excess of thresholds (calories, sugar, saturated fat, and/or sodium)

Marketing restrictions

“High in” products:

  • May not use child-directed marketing strategies or appeals in any media/marketing (including use of brand characters on packaging);
  • may not advertise during children’s programming (TV, cinema, online) or when child audience share >20%
  • May not advertise on TV from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. (2018 update; read in Spanish | English)
  • Must carry warning message if advertised outside of restricted hours/programming

School sales & marketing

“High in” products cannot be marketed, sold, or offered for free at kiosks, cafeterias, and feeding program at schools and nurseries

Read law in: Spanish | English

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Research Partners

Institute of Nutrition And Food Science (INTA), University of Chile
Instituto de Nutrición y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Universidad de Chile

Research Team

Camila Corvalan Aguilar (Co-PI), Assistant Professor
Marcela Reyes (Co-PI), Assistant Professor
INTA, University of Chile

Universidad Diego PortalesTeresa Correa, Assistant Professor
Universidad Diego Portales

Our Evaluations

To date, we have evaluated the short-term impacts of the SSB tax on beverage prices and household beverage purchases, as well as the impact of Phase 1 of the warning label/marketing restriction/school sales policy package. We plan to continue evaluations until January 2023 in order to evaluate all three phases of the law.

Publications

Taillie L.S., M. Reyes, M.A. Colchero, B. Popkin, C. Corvalán (2020). An evaluation of Chile’s Law of Food Labeling and Advertising on sugar-sweetened beverage purchases from 2015 to 2017: A before-and-after study. PLoS Med 17(2): e1003015.

Caro, J. C., C. Corvalán, M. Reyes, A. Silva, B. Popkin and L. S. Taillie (2018). Chile’s 2014 sugar-sweetened beverage tax and changes in prices and purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages: an observational study in an urban environment. PLoS Medicine 15(7): e1002597.

Caro, J. C., S. W. Ng, L. S. Taillie and B. M. Popkin (2017). Designing a tax to discourage unhealthy food and beverage purchases: The case of Chile. Food Policy 71: 86-100.

Correa, T., C. Fierro, M. Reyes, F. R. D. Carpentier, L. S. Taillie and C. Corvalan (2019). Responses to the Chilean law of food labeling and advertising: exploring knowledge, perceptions and behaviors of mothers of young children. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 16(1): 21.

Corvalan, C., M. Reyes, M. L. Garmendia and R. Uauy (2019). Structural responses to the obesity and non-communicable diseases epidemic: Update on the Chilean law of food labelling and advertising. Obesity Reviews 20(3): 367-374.

Kanter, R., M. Reyes, C. Corvalan, S. Vandevijvere and B. Swinburn (2019). Anticipatory effects of the implementation of the Chilean Law of Food Labeling and Advertising on food and beverage product reformulation. Obesity Reviews.

Mediano Stoltze, F., J. O. Barker, R. Kanter, C. Corvalán, M. Reyes, L. S. Taillie and F. R. Dillman Carpentier (2018). Prevalence of child-directed and general audience marketing strategies on the front of beverage packaging: the case of Chile. Public Health Nutrition 21(3): 454-464.

Rebolledo, N., M. Reyes, C. Corvalán, B. M. Popkin and L. Smith Taillie (2019). Dietary Intake by Food Source and Eating Location in Low- and Middle-Income Chilean Preschool Children and Adolescents from Southeast Santiago. Nutrients 11(7): 1695.

Reyes, M., M. L. Garmendia, S. Olivares, C. Aqueveque, I. Zacarías and C. Corvalán (2019). Development of the Chilean front-of-package food warning label. BMC Public Health 19(1): 906.

Under review

Correa, T., Reyes, Marcela,Taillie, Lindsey Smith, Corvalan, Camila, Dillman Carpentier, Francesca R. (2019). Changes in TV advertising after the implementation of the Chilean Law of Food Labeling and Advertising: Evidence from a pre-post study. Santiago, Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, University of Chile.

Reyes, M., Lindsey Smith-Tallie, Barry Popkin, Rebecca Kanter, Stefanie Vandevijvere, Camila Corvalan (2019). Changes in the content of critical nutrients in prepackaged foods after short-term implementation of the Chilean Law of Food Labelling and Marketing. Universidad de Chile. Santiago.