Tesco has become the first supermarket to follow the recommendations of campaigners to reduce the amount of sugar in its own-brand drinks.
Action on Sugar has welcomed the decision, which will see the supermarket giant reduce its sugar content by five per cent in all of its Tesco brand drinks.
After four years, this will mean that there will be two teaspoons less of sugar in the beverages. Action on Sugar says the best way to reduce the amount of sugar consumed by the British population is to gradually cut it down, like the Tesco initiative.
Public Health England has recommended that other drinks brands should follow Tesco’s example. However, the British Soft Drinks Association says that many companies have been reducing the sugar and calorie content of their drinks.
Figures suggest that calories in soft drinks have fallen by 7.3 per cent in the past three years, while sugar has decreased by 8.3 per cent over the same period.
Tesco has also pledged to remove all added sugar from its Kids drink from September this year, and said it will take measures to do the same for all squash.
Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of Action on Sugar, and professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University London, said this commitment to gradually reduce sugar content is really important.
He said: “Merely having the option of diet or no-sugar products does not work, particularly for the most socially deprived.”
However, there is now pressure on other supermarkets and leading drinks companies to do the same.
It is hoped reducing the amount of sugar people eat will not only reduce the obesity crisis and related issues like type 2 diabetes, but will also help boost the nation’s oral health.
Professor MacGregor said a similar initiative to gradually reduce salt intake led to a 15 per cent fall in consumption in the UK.