A “shocking” amount of sugar can be found in many hot flavoured drinks, according to Action on Sugar.

The campaign group said: “98% of hot flavoured drinks would receive a red [high] label for excessive levels of sugar per serving.”

In particular, it took aim at Starbuck’s Hot Mulled Fruit - Grape with Chai, Orange and Cinnamon Venti, which it said contained 25 teaspoons (more than three times the maximum adult daily intake, which is seven teaspoons). 

The campaign group is calling for “stricter product reformulation of sugar and fat with mandated targets, a ban on promotions and marketing of unhealthy products and a 20% tax on sugar-sweetened drinks”.

The report named the “worst offenders” for each type of flavoured hot drink. Behind Starbucks’ Hot Mulled Fruit the results were as follows:

    • Costa Chai Latte - 20 tsp per serving
    • Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha with Whipped Cream - 18 tsp per serving
    • Starbucks Signature Hot Chocolate - 15 tsp per serving
    • KFC Mocha - 15 tsp per serving
  • Caffè Nero Caramelatte - 13 tsp per serving

The report said: “Worryingly, from the entire out-of-home hot drinks surveyed, 55% contain the equivalent of, or more than, the maximum daily recommended amount of sugars for an adult and teenager.”

It went on to draw attention to Starbucks’ larger-sized drinks, and the fact that reports last year criticised coffee shops for the amount of sugar in their drinks, but no action seemed to have been taken.

Professor Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London, and chairman of Action on Sugar, said: “This is yet again another example of a scandalous amount of sugar added to our food and drink. No wonder we have the highest rates of obesity in Europe.”

This latest attack on sugar comes as the Financial Times reported this week that David Cameron would drop the sugar tax. Elsewhere, Tesco is to introduce its own Sugarwise label in the coming months.