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Tesco reduces sugar levels in soft drinks to fight obesity

DBR Staff Writer Published 07 November 2016

British supermarket chain Tesco has reduced the amount of sugar in its own brand soft drinks in a bid to tackle obesity.

The amount of sugar in products like Tesco Cola has been halved by the retailer in its commitment to match the official nutrition demands.

Tesco said that the sugar levels of 50 of its 251-soft drink range have been reduced to below 5g per 100ml in the last step of a reformulation.

The reformulated drinks with reduced sugar quantity will reportedly hit the stores from 11 November.

Tesco UK and Ireland chief executive Matt Davies said: “This is just one part of our plans to make the food on our shelves healthier by reducing levels of sugar, salt and fat in our own brands.

”We have worked to make sure our soft drinks still taste great, just with less sugar. Tesco customers are now consuming on average over 20 per cent less sugar from our soft drinks than in 2011.

UK Public Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said that Tesco’s new reformulation of its soft drinks is proof that reducing sugar out of drinks is possible and also aligns with what customers need.

Blackwood said: “The Government's sugar levy is designed to encourage manufacturers to cut the sugar from their products before the levy comes into force in 2018. Responsible actions like this are so important in our fight against childhood obesity.”

Tesco’s drive comes ahead of the sugar tax in the UK that has been proposed to come into effect from 2018. According to the sugar tax proposal, sugary drinks with 5g of sugar per 100ml will have a lower tax rate compared to drinks that have more than 8g of sugar per 100ml.

In August, the UK government revealed plans of levying a sugar tax on soft drink manufacturers while deciding to divert the proceeds to fight child obesity.

The soft drink industry had objected to the tax proposal, expressing that it would lead to thousands of job losses across the UK.

Image: Tesco cuts down sugar content in its soft drinks portfolio. Photo: courtesy of Tesco PLC.