Action on Sugar wants a 40% reduction in sugar content by 2020

Action on Sugar wants a 40% reduction in sugar content by 2020

UK soft drinks producers have attacked an anti-sugar group after it accused the industry's products of having “shockingly high” sugar content.

Trade body the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) said today (12 June) that Action on Sugar's claims were “blinded by political zeal”. It said the group has "unsurprisingly" ignored a range of evidence, including that 60% of UK soft drinks contain no-added sugar. 

“Soft drinks manufacturers have led the way over many years in providing an increasing range of low- and no-calorie drinks,” the BSDA said. 

In a statement today, Action on Sugar said its research had found that 79% of sugary fizzy drinks contain six or more teaspoons of sugar per 33cl can, or three times the World Health Organization's recommended daily amount. It also said a typical can of cola contains as much sugar as three-and-a-half Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Traditional-style soft drinks were singled out as often containing more sugar than colas, with elderflower sparkling and ginger beer drinks found to be most at fault.

UK firm Fentimans, which produces its namesake ginger beer, has according to Action on Sugar, responded by saying it intends to cut sugar content in its products by 20% by 2016 due to "recent publicity surrounding the danger of excess sugar". 

Action on Sugar wants overall sugar consumption in the UK to fall by 40% by 2020. However, a spokesperson for the pressure group told just-drinks this year that it seeks voluntary regulations because legislation such as sugar taxes is unlikely to pass European law.