sugarPublic Health England has challenged the food industry to cut sugar in its products by 20% by 2020.

It has suggested that sugar levels could be reduced by reducing portion sizes, reducing sugar levels or promoting healthier options, in the hope that businesses can cut sugar levels by 5% in 2017.

‘Tackling the amount of sugar we eat is not just a healthy thing to do, but an issue of inequality for many families,’ Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England (PHE), said.

‘If businesses achieve these guidelines, 200,000 tonnes of sugar could be removed from the UK market per year by 2020.’

Sugar tax

A sugar tax was announced in the Childhood Obesity Strategy, to get the go-ahead by 2018.

PHE’s challenge is a voluntary programme, with no way of enforcing the sugar reductions.

Food category Baseline average total sugar (per 100g) 20% sugar reduction guideline (per 100g) Max. calories per serving guideline
Chocolate confectionary 54.6g 43.7g 250kcal
Sweets 60.6g 48.4g 150kcal
Cakes 34.9g 27.9g 325kcal
Breakfast cereals 15.3g 12.3g 400kcal
Biscuits 32.8g 26.2g 325kcal
Yoghurts 12.8g 11g 175kcal
Puddings 18.8g 15.1g 450kcal
Pastries etc 12.5g 10g 325kcal
Ice cream, lollies etc 13.7g 10.8g 325kcal

Source: BBC News

‘We’ve seen over recent weeks that some companies within the food and drink industry have made great progress whilst others are seriously lagging behind and others claiming wrongly that they can’t do it,’ Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar, said.

‘Doing nothing is no longer an option – we need transparency from them about how they are meeting the targets with clear nutritional information made available for restaurants, catering companies and other out-of-home eateries.’