The food industry has succeeded in reducing sugar levels in line to meet the government’s ambition to reduce sugar by 20% by 2020 in categories of food that contribute the most sugar intakes in children under 18, according to Public Health England’s (PHE) second-year report.
The report highlights how retailers and manufacturers have reduced the amount of sugar in foods that contribute the most to children’s diets in-home sectors – retailers and manufacturers – and out-of-home sectors, including restaurants, pubs and cafes.
Retailers and manufacturers achieved a 2.9% reduction and out of home sectors a 4.9% reduction since 2015.
Certain food categories saw greater improvement, with retailer own-brand and manufacturer-branded yoghurts and fromage frais reducing sugar by 10.3% and breakfast and cereals by 8.5%.
When the report looked at simple average sugar levels that data suggested that the out of home sector has made more progress.
The Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) also saw progress in the report with an average 28.8% reduction in sugar per 100ml in retailer own-brand and manufacturer-branded products and a 27.2% reduction per 100ml for drinks consumed out of home.
It also saw a shift in consumers choosing zero or lower sugar products, with 30,133 tonnes of sugar being removed without a reduction soft drink sales, meaning 37.5 billion fewer calories are being consumed from sugary drinks each year.
PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie said: “We are seeing some encouraging progress from the industry. Our second-year report shows some food categories reducing sugar faster than others but this is realistic at this early stage.
“We are confident that the industry as a whole understands their responsibility to step up and deliver for children and their families.”
Businesses have three options to choose from to meet the government’s 20% ambition; reduce sugar levels, produce smaller portions or encourage consumers to purchase lower- or no-sugar products.