Health problems caused by the excessive consumption of fast foods have assumed epidemic proportions all over the world. According to some people, it is important to impose a high tax on junk food to discourage people from eating such foods. In my opinion, this will deter only the middle and lower income groups.
To begin with, imposing a higher tax will make fast foods unaffordable to poor people. This will force them to cook proper meals at home. While this might cause them some inconvenience, it is actually good for their health. However, the taxes will not discourage affluent consumers from buying fast food. They will continue to consume it. That means increasing the tax on fast food will have only a marginal effect on its consumption.
Creating awareness about the ill-effects of fast foods is also unlikely to be of much help. Most people who consume fast foods are actually aware of its health consequences. For instance, a survey conducted in Singapore, one of the developed countries in the world, revealed that people are compelled to buy fast foods because of their busy schedule even though they are aware of the health problems.
Perhaps a better solution is to make healthy food more affordable and accessible. One of the main reasons that increase the consumption of fast foods is that they can be cooked in a matter of minutes. Ready-to-eat foods are also available in supermarkets. Many people are consuming fast foods because healthier alternatives are not conveniently available.
To conclude, increasing the tax on fast foods will only deter the low income groups from buying them. If the governments really want to reduce the consumption of fast foods, making healthier alternatives more affordable and accessible is the best solution.