"In the last 20 years, the proportion of soft drinks that do not contain added sugar has doubled to more than 60%" - BSDA

"In the last 20 years, the proportion of soft drinks that do not contain added sugar has doubled to more than 60%" - BSDA

The UK soft drinks industry has said it remains committed to helping tackle obesity, after figures showed rates have soared over the last 15 years.

A report by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) pusblished late last week showed that one in four UK adults were classified as obese in 2008, compared to one in six in 1994.

The figures show that there is still much work to do on consumer diets, despite the Government's drive to reduce the amount salt, sugar and fat in food and drink over the last few years.

The British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) defended its record on health when contacted by just-drinks.

“In the last 20 years, the proportion of soft drinks that do not contain added sugar has doubled to more than 60%. Soft drinks also carry calorie information prominently on pack, to provide consumers with information about the drinks they might choose,” Richard Laming, media director for the BSDA, told just-drinks today (6 July).

“If there is more to be done, it is to ensure that the public is educated about the steps to take in addressing obesity, including choosing a balanced diet and taking more exercise. Attempts at forcing people to do these things tend to fail, as well as often being unacceptably intrusive. What works are measures to encourage people to make the right decisions for themselves,” he added.

 

The UK Food and Drink Federation's (FDF) director of safety and science, Barbara Gallani, said that obesity remains a “highly complex” issue.

“Obesity is dependent on diet and physical activity levels as well as on a number of other factors clearly captured in the Foresight obesity system map and widely studied by academics worldwide,” she told just-drinks.

Gallani added that recent research carried out by Mintel found that total sales of healthier eating options in some key food and drink categories are now worth GBP8bn (US$12.15bn), and in some areas are growing at twice the rate of the market as a whole.

“As an industry we remain committed to working in genuine partnership with the Government and other stakeholders to keep the momentum going,” Gallani said.

To view the full ONS report, click here.