Sugar reduction and wider reformulation

These documents explain how PHE is approaching sugar reduction as part of its wider reformulation programme.

Public Health England (PHE) is leading on a sugar reduction and wider reformulation programme. We will engage with all sectors of the food industry to reduce the amount of sugar in the foods that contribute most to children’s intakes by 20% by 2020, with a 5% reduction in the first year.

The initial focus will be on the top 9 food categories that contribute the most to children’s sugar intakes (yogurts, biscuits, cakes, morning goods (such as croissants, buns and waffles), puddings, ice-cream, breakfast cereals, confectionery, sweet spreads and sauces).

The programme covers products that are intended for the very young and children up to the age of 18 years. From 2017, the programme will be extended to include setting targets to reduce total calories in a range of products and across all sectors.

PHE is also undertaking a programme of work on salt reduction.

Childhood obesity plan

Sugar reduction

PHE’s definition of free sugars is published in the scientific journal Public Health Nutrition. The government has adopted free sugars as the basis for sugar intake recommendations instead of non-milk extrinsic sugars, following the recommendation of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) in its 2015 report on carbohydrates and health.

Calorie reduction

Salt reduction

Commercial baby food for infants under 36 months

Reduction and reformulation updates

Published 30 March 2017
Last updated 7 October 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added Sugar reduction: report on progress between 2015 and 2019.

  2. Added calorie reduction guidelines, 2017 second progress report and 2024 salt reduction targets.

  3. Added: 'Sugar reduction: report on the second year of progress'.

  4. Added 'Commercial infant and baby food and drink: evidence review' to new section 'Commercial baby food for infants under 36 months'.

  5. Added 'Reduction and reformulation programme: Spring 2019 update'.

  6. Added: Salt targets 2017: progress report.

  7. Added Sugar reduction and wider reformulation programme report; Report on progress towards the first 5% reduction and next steps: Appendix 3; Sugar reduction: report on first year progress, and Sugar reduction: juice and milk based drinks report.

  8. Added a new group 'Salt reduction'.

  9. Added link to PHE's definition of free sugars in the scientific journal Public Health Nutrition.

  10. Added the document 'Calorie reduction: the scope and ambition for action' under the heading 'Calorie reduction'.

  11. Added sugar reduction and wider reformulation programme: interim review.

  12. First published.