First measure of industry progress to cut sugar unveiled

 

 
Public Health England publishes first assessment of progress achieved on government’s sugar reduction programme

Results show an encouraging start with retailers and manufacturers achieving a 2% reduction in sugar against 5% first year target

Sugar has been reduced by 11% by retailers and manufacturers in drinks included in Soft Drinks Industry Levy

New guidelines for the drinks industry to reduce sugar in juice and milk based drinks also published

Public Health England (PHE) has today published the first assessment of progress on the government’s sugar reduction programme, measuring how far the food industry has gone towards reducing the sugar children consume through every day foods.

As part of the government’s plan to reduce childhood obesity, the food industry – including retailers, manufacturers, restaurants, cafés and pub chains – has been challenged to cut 20% of sugar from a range of products by 2020, with a 5% reduction in the first year[1].

Progress towards meeting the 5% ambition is the focus of this report and is assessed against a 2015 baseline.

The assessment shows an encouraging initial start from retailers and manufacturers, achieving a 2% reduction in both average sugar content and calories in products likely to be consumed in one go.

Whilst this doesn’t meet the 5% ambition, PHE recognises there are more sugar reduction plans from the food industry in the pipeline – and some changes to products that are not yet captured in the data as they took effect after the first year cut-off point.

For the 8 food categories where progress has been measured, the assessment also shows:

there have been reductions in sugar levels across 5 categories;

yogurts and fromage frais, breakfast cereals, and sweet spreads and sauces have all met or exceeded the initial 5% sugar reduction ambition;

sugar levels are generally the same across all sectors, however for the eating out of home sector, portion sizes in products likely to be consumed in one go are substantially larger – on average more than double – those of retailers and manufacturers.

Retailers and manufacturers have also reduced calories in products likely to be consumed in one go in 4 categories, for example by reducing the size of the product. Of these, ice cream, lollies and sorbets, and yogurts and fromage frais have reduced average calories by more than 5%.

Due to limitations with the data, PHE is not yet able to report on the progress made in the cakes and morning goods categories for retailer and manufacturer’s products. It is also not possible to report on progress for the eating out of home sector alone as part of this assessment. Progress in these areas will be reported on next year.

As part of the programme, businesses are encouraged to focus efforts on their top selling products within ten categories that contribute the most sugar to the diets of children up to 18 years of age. They have three options to help them do this – reduce sugar levels (reformulation), provide smaller portions, or encourage consumers to purchase lower or no sugar products.

Progress is also reported on the drinks covered by the government’s Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL). Sugar has been reduced by 11% and average calories per portion by 6% by retailers and manufacturers in response to the SDIL. Data also shows people are buying more drinks that have sugar levels below the SDIL cut off of 5g per 100g.

With a third of children leaving primary school overweight or obese, PHE continues to call for increased action from all sectors of the food industry to achieve the 20% reduction ambition by 2020.

Steve Brine, Public Health Minister, said:

“We lead the world in having the most stringent sugar reformulation targets and it is encouraging to see that some progress has been made in the first year.

“However, we do not underestimate the scale of the challenge we face. We are monitoring progress closely and have not ruled out taking further action.”

Duncan Selbie, chief executive at Public Health England, said:

“We have seen some of the food industry make good progress, and they should be commended for this. We also know that further progress is in the pipeline.

“However, tackling the obesity crisis needs the whole food industry to step up, in particular those businesses that have as yet taken little or no action.”

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said:

“This is about tackling the nation’s obesity crisis. Too many children and adults suffer the effects of obesity, as does society, with our NHS under needless pressure. Obesity widens economic inequalities, affecting the poor the hardest.”

PHE has also today published new guidelines for the drinks industry to reduce the amount of sugar children consume through juice and milk based drinks.

The drinks categories join the other ten categories in PHE’s sugar reduction programme. Juice and milk based drinks are currently excluded from the government’s SDIL, but the exemption of milk-based drinks will be reviewed by Treasury in 2020.

By mid-2021, the drinks industry is encouraged to:

reduce sugar in juice based drinks (excluding single juice[2]) by 5%;

cap all juice based drinks (including blended juices[3], smoothies and single juices) likely to be consumed in one go to 150 calories; and

reduce sugar in milk (and milk substitutes) based drinks by 20% and cap products likely to be consumed in one go to 300 calories.

Fruit juice alone accounts for around 10% of the sugar consumed each day by 4 to 18 year olds. Current advice is that only one 150ml portion counts as one of our 5 A Day.

The next progress report on the sugar reduction programme is due in Spring 2019.

[1] The first year of the sugar reduction programme is August 2016 – August 2017

[2] Single juice (also known as mono juice) products include juice from a single fruit with nothing added to it, for example 100% orange juice

[3] Blended juice products include juice from multiple juice sources

 
Contact
Jamie Mills Jamie.Mills@phe.gov.uk 020 765 48039
 

 

 

 

Notes to editors
Sugar reduction progress report 1. Download PHE's sugar reduction infographics here: https://app.box.com/s/7oya64afrp83nwdq37q5q58bjmdx71yi 2.The report, Sugar reduction and wider reformulation programme: Report on progress towards the first 5% reduction and next steps, will be available on the PHE website.

 

3.Table 1 provides a summary of progress across categories by manufacturers and retailers combined.

Table 1

Product Category

Sugar per 100g (% change) Calories in products consumed on a single occasion (% change)
Biscuits 0% -3%
Breakfast cereals -5% n/a*
Chocolate confectionery 0% -3%
Ice cream, lollies and sorbets (g) -2% -7%
Puddings 1% 4%
Sweet spreads and sauces -5% n/a*
Sweet confectionery -1% 0%
Yogurts and fromage frais -6% -6%
*n/a = not available as products generally not sold in single serve portion

 

The ambition of the programme has been set based on 2015 levels of sugar in products per 100g and calculating an average figure that takes into account the volume of sales. This sets out a clear goal for a sales weighted average (SWA) for sugar per 100g for each category and provides a figure against which progress in this report has been monitored.

 

4.The sales weighted average (SWA) is the average sugar level across a food category. It is calculated by weighting the sugar levels in products by their volume sales. A high-selling, high-sugar product will increase the SWA and a high-selling, lower-sugar product will reduce the SWA.

 

5.Two sources of nutrition and sales data have been used to assess progress in year one of the sugar reduction programme: commercial consumer panel data from Kantar Worldpanel for retailers own label and manufacturer branded products, which gives both volume and nutrition data; and volume data from MCA for out of home purchases (e.g. quick service restaurants, takeaway and meal delivery businesses). Nutrition information for the out of home sector has also been obtained from individual businesses.

 

6.The sugar reduction programme applies to the following categories. The challenge for the food industry is to reduce sugar in these categories by 20% by 2020.

 

Breakfast cereals

 

Yogurts and fromage frais

 

Biscuits

 

Cakes

 

Morning goods (e.g. buns and pastries)

 

Puddings

 

Ice creams, lollies and sorbets

 

Confectionery (chocolate and sweet)

 

Sweet spreads, which is sub-categorised into

 

Chocolate spread

 

Peanut butter

 

Dessert toppings/sauces

 

Fruit spreads

7. Today’s developments build on previous steps taken by PHE as part of the government’s comprehensive childhood obesity plan.
8. Since the childhood obesity plan was published, retailers and manufacturers like Nestle, General Mills, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Tesco, Waitrose, Kellogg’s, Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Greggs, Starbucks, Pladis, Premier Foods, and Co-Op have announced they are, or already have, lowered the amount of sugar in their products.

 

9.Sugar reduction is part of the wider PHE-led food and drink reduction and reformulation programme. This includes the ambition to encourage the food industry to reduce calories in products consumed by families by 20% by 2024.

 

10.Almost a quarter of children (23%) commence primary school overweight or obese, rising to more than a third of children (34%) leaving primary school overweight or obese. For adults, almost two-thirds (62%) are overweight or obese.

 

11.A quarter (25%) of 5-year-olds has tooth decay with an average of three or four teeth affected.

 

Data limitations

 

12.The data used for the analysis is based on what people buy (“shopping basket” data). This information is at the end of the supply chain and companies may be in the process of improving products through their reformulation cycles or have commitments to change recipes later this year. Therefore, the datasets used may not yet reflect all the sugar reduction and product reformulation activity in progress or that has taken place to date. It is also important to recognise that businesses have different starting points and different opportunities for making changes to their products which has a bearing on the results presented at this early stage.

 

13.It is important to recognise that businesses have different starting points and different opportunities for making changes to their products, which has a bearing on the results presented at this early stage.

 

14.Progress for 8 out of the 10 food categories for retailers and manufacturers has been analysed. For cakes and morning goods, sugar per 100g could not be calculated as too few had their accompanying weights available in both years so these have been excluded. For these products, nutrition information is often not provided per 100g so the weight of the product is needed to calculate sugar per 100g.

 

15.Data was also limited for some retail businesses meaning that it has not been possible to report on progress for all retailers. Work is ongoing with the data supplier and it is the intention that these issues will be addressed for the report due in 2019.

 

16.After the baseline for the out of home sector was set in the March 2017 guidelines report, PHE took the decision to change the data supplier to one that could deliver a more comprehensive dataset for future monitoring. This means it is not yet possible to measure progress for this sector in terms of changes in sugar levels or calorie content through a comparison with the baseline as too few products had nutrition information in both years. It is the intention that this will be addressed and included in the report due in 2019. In this first report it has been possible, however, to compare sugar levels and calories per portions in products consumed on a single occasion in the out of home sector with retailers and manufacturers products, for all categories, although for this sector nutrition information is generally less available than for retailers or manufacturers products.

 

Milk and juice based drinks guidelines

 

1.The report, Sugar reduction: juice and milk based drinks, will be available on the PHE website.

 

2.Refer to Tables 2 and 3 for full sugar reduction and calorie guidelines for products likely to be consumed in one go.

 

3.The inclusion of juice and milk based drinks as additional categories in PHE’s sugar reduction programme is detailed in the government’s childhood obesity plan.

 

4.Drinks made in scope with milk substitutes are also included, such as drinks made from soya, oats, hemp and nuts.

 

5.The SDIL encourages the drinks industry to remove added sugar, promote diet drinks, and reduce portion sizes for high sugar drinks. PHE will monitor the effect the levy has had in reducing the amount of sugar in products within the sugary soft drinks category.

 

6.The SDIL came into effect in April 2018. Drinks with more than 8g of total sugar per 100ml will pay 24p per litre, with drinks between 5g and 8g sugar per 100ml paying 18p. Drinks with less than 5g sugar per 100ml are exempt. Progress on the interim ambition of 10% sugar reduction for milk based drinks will be taken into account when HM Treasury reviews the continuation of their exemption from the SDIL in 2020.

 

7.PHE’s advice to the public to limit fruit juice or smoothies to a total of 150ml per day and only consume with meals remains unchanged. They count as a maximum of one portion of our 5 A Day.

 

Table 2 Milk Based Drinks

Category Description (i) Baseline (g sugar per 100ml) 10% reduction guideline (g sugar per 100ml) figures include the sugars allowance 20% reduction guideline (g sugar per 100ml) figures include the sugars allowance Calorie (kcals) guidelines for products likely to be consumed in a single occasion Mechanism of most relevance to category
Sugar reduction per 100ml Reduce size of products likely to be consumed in a single occasion Shift portfolio of sales
Cold milk based drinks (pre-packaged drinks, milkshake powders and syrups (ii) (iii) 9.7g (v) 9.2g 8.8g 257kcal (SWA)(vi) 300kcal
Coffee and tea powders, syrups and pods (ii) 3.7 3.5 3.3 -  
Hot chocolate and malt drink powders (ii) 6.4 6 5.6 -  
Pre-packaged drinks - flavoured milk-substitute drinks 7.1 6.6 6.1 152kcal SWA 300kcal  
Out of home hot milk based drinks (including coffee, tea, and hot chocolates) (iv) 6.2 6 5.7 268kcal SWA 300kcal
i. Sugar reduction: juice and milk based drinks includes detail on products in scope ii. Powders, syrups and pods made up to manufacturer’s instructions iii. Includes out of home milkshake drinks

 

iv. Include drinks in scope made with milk and milk substitute drinks

v. The baseline figure for cold milk based drinks (pre-packaged drinks, milkshake powders and syrups (made up to manufacturer’s instructions) and out of home cold drinks is a weighted average between Kantar Worldpanel 9g/100ml and MCA 12.6g/100ml at 80:20. The weighting of the two figures combined provides a value of 9.7g/100ml.

vi. The figure excludes powders, syrups and pods

Figures highlighted in grey are based on Kantar Worldpanel data. Figures highlighted in blue are based on MCA data. The Kantar Worldpanel data highlighted in grey are simple averages due to limitations in the data.

 

 

 

Table 3 Juice Based Drinks

Category Description (i) Baseline 5% reduction guideline (g sugar per 100ml) (ii) Calorie (kcals) guidelines for products likely to be consumed in a single occasion (iii) Mechanism of most relevance to category
Sugar reduction per 100ml Reduce size of products likely to be consumed in a single occasion Shift portfolio of sales
Juice based drinks except mono-juice(ii) 9.3 (v) 8.9 107kcal (SWA) 150kcal
Mono-juice (Kantar data only) 9.7(iv) (vi) - - 150kcal  
i. Sugar reduction: juice and milk based drinks includes detail on products in scope ii. Includes blended juice (including smoothies), juice with water combination drinks, nut and plant sap waters iii. Applies to mono-juice, blended juice (including smoothies), juice with water combination drinks, nut and plant sap waters

 

iv. Simple average, monitoring will be based on this figure not increasing

v. The baseline figure for juice which excludes mono juice (Kantar Worldpanel data only) was based on a 80:20 weighting of the Kantar Worldpanel and MCA data. The Kantar Worldpanel baseline figure is 9.6g/100ml and the MCA baseline figure is 8.1g/100ml. The weighting of the two figures combined provides a value of 9.3g/100ml

vi. The 9.7g/100ml figure for mono-juices is based on Kantar Worldpanel dataset as data for mono-juices from the MCA data is not available.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 




Editors Notes


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