Press releases

22 May 2018

Soft drinks industry leads the way in PHE’s Sugar Reduction report

Public Health England (PHE) has today published its Year One progress report for its sugar reduction and wider reformulation programme.

In the Government’s ‘Childhood obesity: A plan for action’, published in August 2016, PHE committed itself to overseeing a sugar reduction programme that challenged all sectors of the food and drinks industry to reduce sugar levels by 20% by 2020, and to achieve a 5% reduction in the first year of the programme.

According to the report, soft drinks is one of the only categories to have achieved the 5% target for year one.

British Soft Drinks Association Director General Gavin Partington, said:

“It comes as no surprise to us that sugar intake from soft drinks has decreased by almost five times as much as other categories. Down by 18.7% since 2013*, this is a trend which correlates with  the industry’s strong track record in sugar reduction before the introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy.

“We are the only category on track to achieving PHE’s calorie-reduction target of 20% by 2020.

“We all have a role to play in helping to tackle obesity and we hope our actions on sugar reduction, portion size and promotion of low- and no-calorie products set an example for the wider food sector.”

Juice Drinks

In parallel to this, PHE has also published new sugar reduction guidelines for juice and milk based drinks that are currently excluded from the soft drinks industry levy.

PHE’s sugar reduction ambition for juice-based drinks is for a 5% sugar reduction and 150 kcal cap by mid-2021.

Partington added:

“We are pleased to see PHE recognise that the (naturally-occurring) sugars in pure fruit juice cannot be removed or reformulated, and so are excluded from the sales weight average for reduction in sugar content.

“Given that the nation is not consuming enough fruit, vegetables and fibre, it is important that any sugar reduction targets put on a category do not inadvertently undermine foods which provide these sources.”

*Kantar Worldpanel