Milking it

Soya milk
Leading charity calls for an end to unfair VAT on plant milks.


ProVeg International, a global food awareness charity, is today calling for an end to the unequal and unfair rates of taxation of plant-based milks compared with the lower rates applied to cow’s milk.

In six countries across Europe, VAT on plant-based milk is significantly higher than it is on cow’s milk.

In Germany, for example, VAT on soya milk is 19 percent, but only 7 percent on cow’s milk. This means a 171 percent higher VAT rate for the plant-based milk. The rate is 450 percent higher in Italy, and 150 percent higher in Spain, with Greece, Slovakia and Austria also applying higher VAT rates on plant milks. 

Climate crisis 

The dairy industry is a major contributor to climate change, with one litre of cow’s milk requiring more than 22 times more water and roughly 12 times more land, and emitting three times more greenhouse gas emissions than one litre of soya milk. Other types of plant milk such as oat and rice milk are similarly sustainable.

ProVeg International’s call to end the tax discrimination on plant milk coincides with the launch of its major new report on plant-based milks. The report, published today, explores nutrition, market data, legal frameworks, and the environmental impacts of plant milk compared to cow’s milk. 

Sebastian Joy, co-founder and CEO of ProVeg International, said: “We urge these European governments to level the playing field by taxing plant-based milk at the same rate as cow’s milk – at the very least.

"People are literally paying a higher price for wanting to protect our planet and for being climate-conscious.

“We are in the midst of the climate crisis, yet this outdated VAT policy stifles plant-based innovation and competition. It is unfair and inequitable and in urgent need of reform if we are serious about making progress with climate change mitigation.

“Instead of indirectly subsidising dairy products that we know to be so damaging to our planet, we ought to be helping, supporting, and encouraging more sustainable alternatives such as plant-based milk – not taxing them at such a higher rate.”

This Article 

This article is based on a press release from Pro Veg International. 

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