UK Food Industry ‘Struggling’ To Meet Sugar Reduction Targets

9, a:1:{i:0;s:8:”defaults”;}, conveyor belt rollers, UK Food Industry ‘Struggling’ To Meet Sugar Reduction Targets, Research from Public Health England indicated that the UK food sector is going to fall well short of the target of reducing the sugar content in our food., Businesses in the UK food industry have been struggling to reduce the sugar content in their products, with new research from Public Health England (PHE) indicating that the sector is going to fall well short of the target of reducing the sugar content in our food by 20 per cent by 2020.

The BBC reported that the sugar content in shop-bought food fell by just 2.9 per cent between 2015 and 2018.

Companies in the sector are working towards a voluntary target, which they have branded “too ambitious”. However, experts have accused the country’s food manufacturers of failing to take the necessary steps to help curb the obesity crisis.

In April 2018, the so-called sugar tax was introduced in the UK. It meant that manufacturers would pay 24p per litre on very sweet drinks and 18p per litre on medium-sugar products. In response to the tax, many leading drinks manufacturers have changed their recipes.

On average, 100ml bottles of soft drinks now contain 28.8 per cent less sugar than they did in 2015, the news provider revealed.

Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, described the sugar tax on soft drinks as a “success story”, but described the wider food industry as “largely asleep at the wheel”.

“If industry fails to act for child health, then we look forward to the introduction of mandatory sugar reduction targets in 2020,” he asserted.

PHE pointed out in its latest release that some sectors of the food manufacturing market have made greater progress than others. For example, the sugar content of yoghurts and fromage frais has been cut by 10.3 per cent. In breakfast cereals, manufacturers have achieved an 8.5 per cent reduction.

Chief executive of PHE Duncan Selbie commented: “We are seeing some encouraging progress from the food industry. Our second year report shows some food categories reducing sugar faster than others but this is realistic at this early stage.” 

However, an article for the Guardian pointed out that it’s considerably easier for some foods to be made with a lower sugar content than others. It explained that in products like cakes and biscuits, sugar serves a purpose beyond flavour. It’s important for making cakes rise, for example, or it stabilises ice cream.

As a result, the news provider argues that rather than forcing the industry to reduce the sugar content of its products, a sugar tax would be more effective. The idea being that by making these kinds of products more expensive, people would buy fewer of them and therefore consume less sugar in their diets.

The newspaper cited research published recently which suggested a 20 per cent snack tax on sugary foods would be twice as effective as the tax already levied on sugary drinks. The reason is that we eat more sugar than we drink.

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