Retail giant Sainsbury's plans to remove all artificial colours and flavourings from its own-brand ranges of soft drinks in the UK.

The supermarket's changes, which will roll-out from June, mean that all colourings and flavourings used will soon be from fruits and other natural sources.

Aspartame amongst other sweeteners in low calorie drinks will be removed and replaced with Sucralose, a sweetener "made from sugar that tastes like sugar", Sainsbury's said earlier this week.

Sainsbury's category manager for soft drinks Cathy Port said: "We've invested a huge amount of time in redeveloping our recipes and ensuring we get the taste of the new soft drinks exactly right and are confident that parents and children alike will welcome the reformulated drinks."

The initiative follows Sainsbury's recent move in placing health messages on its own-brand beverage alcohol products.

Sainsbury's is at the centre of takeover speculation with reports in the UK, claiming that a number of private equity consortia are interested in buying the company.