Action on Sugar (AoS) has prodded food manufacturers to support Public Health England’s voluntary reformulation programme.
Following the childhood obesity plan announced in August, AoS has found that some companies put far less sugar in their products compared to others, which could mean the government’s reformulation target of a 20% reduction in sugar can be achieved before 2020.
However, AoS is now calling on all food manufacturers to follow by example, after a new product survey showed some producers were still not reformulating.
The results showed that baked goods such as Organix Goodies’ Gingerbread Men Biscuits contained 38% less sugars compared to McVitie’s Mini Gingerbread Men, while cakes such as Lidl’s Northwood 12 double chocolate mini muffins contained 12% less sugar compared to Waitrose’s Essential 4 double chocolate muffins.
Also, the survey indicated that Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference pain au chocolat had 11% less sugar compared to Tesco’s all butter pain Au chocolat.
This demonstrated that reducing sugar is possible for manufacturers, said AoS, and it will be closely monitoring the work of all food companies to ensure they hit their target by 2020.
Kawther Hashem, researcher at AoS, said: “Our survey clearly shows that companies can easily make products with much less sugar. Currently they are profiting from selling high-sugar foods, which put children at risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.
“Unhealthy foods are the biggest cause of death and disability in the UK and it is time the food industry took their responsibility for this seriously. They now need to make this a priority and ensure children are not eating three times their maximum intake of sugar.”
Earlier this month, stakeholders from the food industry, politician and health campaigners met in London to discuss the “ongoing sugar challenge”.