News story

Sugar and calories reduced in soft drinks

Leading soft drinks brands Lucozade, Ribena and J20 are among the latest brands to sign up to the Responsibility Deal’s calorie reduction pledge as part of the government's drive to curb obesity levels

Ribena ready to drink and Lucozade Energy will reduce the amount of sugar and calories they contain by up to 10%. AG Barr, producers of IrnBru, will reduce the calorific content across their portfolio of drinks by 5%; and J2O will launch 2 flavours in a new slim-line can representing a 10% calorie reduction compared with their standard 275ml bottle.

Public Health Minister Anna Soubry will be speaking about the latest companies to sign up at the Food and Drink Federation’s ‘Delivering Healthy Growth’ stakeholder event this afternoon, you can follow the speech on Twitter @DHgovuk.

Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said:

Being overweight and not eating well is bad for our health. To reverse the rising tide of obesity we have challenged the nation to reduce our calorie intake by 5 billion calories a day. On average that’s just 100 calories less a day per person.

Today’s announcement will cut the calories and sugar by up to 10% in leading brands like Lucozade and Ribena. Through the Responsibility Deal we are already achieving real progress in helping people reduce the calories and salt in their diet. Overall, more than 480 companies including many leading high street brands have signed up to the Responsibility Deal.

We are encouraged by the extra businesses which have signed up today but I want to see even more progress.  All in the food industry have a part to play and I now expect companies which are not yet taking action to come forward and make pledges.

England has some of the highest obesity rates in the developed world with 60% of adults and one third of 10 and 11 year olds being overweight or obese. The government’s Obesity Call to Action outlined that consuming too many calories is at the heart of the problem and through initiatives like the Responsibility Deal Calorie Reduction pledge concerted action is needed.

Chair of the Responsibility Deal Food Network Dr Susan Jebb said:

I’m pleased to see the soft drinks manufacturers, like GSK, AG Barr and Britvic join Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to make some very real commitments to help consumers cut down on their calories as they take control of their weight.

I hope we will now see others, including the out of home sector, taking a careful look at how they can build on this and come to the table with new commitments to encourage their customers to choose smaller portions and swap to lower calorie options.

The 8 new drink and food manufacturers, supermarket and catering companies which have signed up today include GlaxoSmithKline, Co-Operative Food, Burtons Biscuits, AG Barr, Britvic, Dairy Crest Lexington Catering and CH&Co. They join the 23 companies including Asda, Coca-Cola GB, Mars, Tesco and Subway that have already signed up.