Position Statements

Responsibility Deal: Calorie Reduction Pledge

Improving the dietary health of a nation is a shared responsibility and as an industry we are already demonstrating our support for positive initiatives that encourage and improve the choices – in both diet and lifestyle – our consumers make. 

The soft drinks industry is committed to encouraging responsible consumption of all its products. It provides a wide choice of calorie content and pack size; and nutrition labelling is included on pack so consumers can make an informed choice about the products they are drinking.

Calorie reduction

Manufacturers have been taking steps to reduce the calorie content of their drinks over many years; around 60% of drinks now are low and no calorie.[1]  Overall, soft drinks contribute 3% of calories in the average diet.[2]  However, the industry recognises there is more it can do to help consumers.

The UK’s leading soft drinks companies have joined the UK’s Public Health Responsibility Deal calorie reduction pledge and have set themselves some ambitious targets.

So far, calorie reduction pledges include:

  • A G Barr to reduce the average calorific content per 100ml of its portfolio of drinks by 5% by 2016.
  • Britvic now only produces the No Added Sugar version of Fruit Shoot and as a result estimate that 2.2 billion calories will be taken out of the children’s soft drinks category.
  • Coca-Cola reduced the average calories per litre in its range of sparkling drinks by 5% by the end of 2014. A further 5% of calories will be cut by 2025.
  • Lucozade Ribena Suntory aims to reduce calories by 10% (per 100ml) by 2018 with an ambition to reach 20% by 2025.
  • Nichols reduced the average calorific content per 100ml of ready to drink product by 18% in 2013.
  • By April 2016 SHS Group will reduce the average calorific value per 100ml of its soft drinks range by 5%.
  • The Feel Good Drinks Co has reduced its calorific content per 100ml of its ready to drink products by 10%: more than 90% of its range is now no added sugar.

In addition, major multiple retailers whose own label soft drinks suppliers include BSDA members have also managed to reduce the calories in their soft drinks:

  • Tesco reduced the number of calories sold in their own brand soft drinks by over 1 billion in 2012.
  • Sainsbury’s has reduced the sugar content of their own brand high juice squashes by between 4 and 10%, removing over 600 million calories from their customers’ baskets.
  • By the end of July 2014, the entire range of Co-operative Group branded squashes will contain no added sugar.  The reformulation will remove 1.5 billion calories the equivalent of 100 million teaspoons.
  • ASDA to reduce added sugar by 22% across a range of own brand soft drinks. This equates to the removal of 3.25 billion calories and 814.2 tonnes of sugar from its products.

Soft drinks companies have also vastly increased the availability of the 250ml portion size.

Advertising and Marketing

The UK’s leading soft drinks companies increased their collective advertising spend on low and no calorie drinks by 49% in 2014 – up nearly 70% since 2012.

Marketing commitments include:

  • PepsiCo only advertises the no sugar variants of its carbonated cola soft drinks.
  • Coca Cola is increasing the marketing budget for no calorie and zero sugar colas by 25% by 2014.
  • Britvic - where no or low sugar variants are widely available it will lead with these products in all above-the-line advertising.
  • A G Barr now includes IRN-BRU Sugar Free in the end still in all of its IRN-BRU regular advertising campaigns.

The soft drinks industry acknowledges its responsibility in helping consumers to make the right choices for themselves and their families so they can lead healthier lives. However, this is only one part of a much wider issue: the importance of a balanced diet and active lifestyle must be integral to any strategy proposing to tackle obesity.

Balanced diet and healthy lifestyle

We recognise the fundamental cause of childhood overweight and obesity is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended.[3]

The soft drinks industry plays a positive role in the communities in which it does business. Over recent years BSDA members have taught children and young people about healthy eating and inspired them to lead active lifestyles. Here are just a few examples:

Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives – a series of free family-friendly activities in parks currently in Birmingham, London, Newcastle and Newham and due to expand to more cities in 2015 and beyond.
Do more with Strathmore – A G Barr’s Strathmore campaign aims to encourage and motivate everyone to do more exercise and physical activity.
Eat Like a Champ – Danone’s education campaign to address the issue of poor nutrition and obesity among school children in the UK.
Fruit Shoot Skills – Britvic uses different campaigns to encourage more active skills learning and have included: Get Good, Skillicious, Play4Life, The Juice Crew, Parents for Playgrounds, and Champion of the Playground.
Magic Breakfast – In 2012 PepsiCo 2012 delivered over a million free healthy breakfasts.
Street Games –Coca-Cola’s partnership has helped over 110,000 young people from disadvantaged communities get active and participate in sport

More industry initiatives can be found here

[1] Zenith International/BSDA UK soft drinks repor 2015

[2] National Diet and Nutrition Survey, 2008-2012 (including fruit juice)

[3] World Health Organisation, http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/childhood_why/en/index.html