As part of its National Prevention Agreement, the Netherlands is lining up a reduction in VAT on fruit and vegetables to zero


The Dutch government has hired an external agency to help precisely define what fruit and vegetables are in order to be able to reduce the VAT on such items to zero, De Telegraaf has reported.

State secretaries Van Ooijen and Van Rij wrote to the House that the VAT on fruit and vegetables would be lowered to zero by 2024, costing an estimated €1bn – a figure to be partly offset by the introduction of a sugar tax.

Concerning the definition of fruit and vegetables, questions marks still linger over the status of fruits and vegetables that have been processed to greatly varying degrees.

“Demarcation of fruit and vegetable products for VAT is a puzzle,” said Van Ooijen and Van Rij. “Many variants of fruit and vegetables are available that are healthy to a greater or lesser extent and are seen to a greater or lesser extent by consumers and entrepreneurs as fruit and vegetable products.”

The external agency will reportedly focus on the “legal sustainability, effectiveness, efficiency, feasibility and enforceability” of the measure.

Regarding a sugar tax, the government is expected to return to the issue next year, once it has determined which products fall under this category.

Both goals stem from the National Prevention Agreement aimed at reducing unhealthy choices by consumers and fostering a healthier nation.