Tesco reduces sugar in own brand soft drinks

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Tesco started its efforts to reduce sugar in soft drinks in 2011. Pic:iStock/bogdandreava
Tesco started its efforts to reduce sugar in soft drinks in 2011. Pic:iStock/bogdandreava

Related tags Soft drinks United kingdom Sugar substitute

UK supermarket giant Tesco has reduced the sugar content in its own brand soft drink portfolio, with the reformulated beverages hitting the shelves this week. 

Tesco says this is part of a progressive reduction in sugar in soft drinks since 2011. 

After reformulation efforts, 50 products in Tesco’s 251-strong own brand range now contain below 5g of sugar per 100ml.  

In some products, such as Tesco Cola, sugar content has been halved.

Tesco: ‘20% less sugar from soft drinks than in 2011’

Tesco Cola

Regular Tesco Cola previously had 9.7g sugar/100ml. The new version, available from Nov. 11, will have 4.8g/100ml.

It is sweetened using sugar, sucralose and Acesulfame K. 

tesco cola

Matt Davies, Tesco UK and ROI CEO, said that Tesco customers are now consuming 20% less sugar from its soft drinks than in 2011, the year the supermarket started reformulation efforts.

“We have worked to make sure our soft drinks still taste great, just with less sugar,”​ he said.  

He added that Tesco's sugar reduction efforts support the recommendation that sugars should make up no more than 5% of the daily diet.

Last year Tesco stopped stocking children’s lunchbox size drinks with added sugar.​ 

The move affected popular brands such as Capri Sun and Ribena, with only no-added sugar versions remaining on shelves.

5g sugar per 100ml

Tesco’s beverages (that now contain less than 5g sugar per 100ml) will now escape the UK’s tax on sugar sweetened beverages, which is due to come into effect in April 2018.

The UK’s sugar tax will have two bands: one for drinks containing above 5g sugar per 100ml, and a higher levy for those with more than 8g per 100ml. 

The supermarket also points to its efforts to reduce sugar, salt and fat across its wider own brand portfolio.

“We have cut salt, fat and sugar in more than 4,200 own products since 2012, and have plans for reductions in a further 1,000 products each year for the next three years,”​ says the company.

“For example, over 300 tonnes of saturated fat and 15 tonnes of salt have been removed from own brand butter and spreads.

"Over 65 tonnes of fat, 600 tonnes of sugar and 27 tonnes of salt have been removed from our own brand cooking sauces range.”

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