Position Statements

Health and Wellbeing

  • Government figures confirm that soft drinks comprise only 3% of the average UK diet. [NDNS]
  • Take-home sugar from soft drinks fell by 43.5% between March 2014 and March 2020, according to Kantar Worldpanel data, with a significant amount of that reduction taking place before the Soft Drinks Industry Levy was announced in Spring 2016
  • Low- and no-calorie soft drinks accounted for 68.2% of category sales in 2019.

The causes of obesity are complicated and multi-faceted. Nonetheless, there is widespread consensus that excess weight arises from an imbalance of calories consumed and calories expended. No single ingredient or product alone causes or can solve obesity.  

Soft drinks manufacturers have been taking steps to reduce the calorie content of their drinks over many years. No- and low-calorie soft drinks accounted for 68.2% of sales in 2019. Take-home sugar from soft drinks fell by 43.5% between March 2014 and March 2020, according to Kantar Worldpanel data, with a significant amount of that reduction taking place before the Soft Drinks Industry Levy was announced in Spring 2016

In addition, soft drinks was the only category to hit Public Health England’s calorie-reduction target of 20% by 2020. And, data released by the Government shows a decline of 17 percentage points in teenagers’ sugar intake from soft drinks between 2008/09 and 2016/17.

Overall, soft drinks contribute just 3% of calories in the UK average diet. Nonetheless, the industry recognises there is more it can do to help consumers.

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  • BSDA members do not advertise drinks containing added sugar to children under 12

  • Advertising spend on no- and low-calorie drinks has increased significantly

  • Soft drinks companies support numerous initiatives that promote both a balanced diet and increased physical activity.

Gavin Partington, BSDA Director General, says:

“The soft drinks industry produces a wide range of drinks that can be enjoyed by all but we recognise the role we can play in encouraging consumers to make healthier choices. Soft drinks manufacturers have led the way in developing and promoting low-calorie drinks. The determination to increase investment in advertising and promotion of no- and low-calorie drinks underlines our commitment to help consumers and support public health objectives."

Other key facts:

  • Scientists advise that we should consume at least 2 litres of water a day and all soft drinks count towards this daily hydration target
  • Hydration is important – it helps keep us mentally and physically alert
  • A glass of fruit juice can count as one portion (and a smoothie can count as two) of the five servings of fruit and vegetables people are recommended to consume each day
  • Fruit juice provides essential nutrients including vitamin C, folate, potassium and calcium.