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Funder – National Institute for Health and Care Research

Project dates: May 2022 – April 2025


The COPPER project is a collaboration with the Nuffield Department of Primary Health Care Sciences, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), University of Exeter, University of Reading and the Food Foundation. The aim of the COPPER project is to work with the public and policymakers to design food subsidy and tax scenarios. These scenarios will then be modelled to estimate their impact on health, health inequalities, household economics, macroeconomics and the environment.

The Oxford team will conduct a public survey and discrete choice experiment to test public attitudes and receptiveness to food subsidies and taxes aimed at either improving health or reducing the environmental footprint of foods. Working with the Food Foundation, we will then hold deliberative forums where members of the public will be asked to prioritise food subsidy and tax policies based on evidence on the food system’s impact on health, economics and the environment. We will take the high priority subsidy and tax scenarios through to the modelling section of the project.

Our colleagues in Exeter, Reading and LSHTM will estimate how consumers are likely to change their food purchasing behaviour in light of these subsidy and tax scenarios, and then estimate the impact of the scenarios on household budgets, tax revenue, GDP and jobs in the food industry. The Oxford team will use linked big datasets of commonly available food and drink products, food consumption patterns and the environmental footprint of foods. We will apply established health and environmental models to these datasets to estimate the impact of the subsidy and tax scenarios on health (for the whole population and for different socio-economic groups), greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use and water pollution.

More details on the COPPER project, including a plain English summary.