Asda is to cut 22% of sugar from its own-label soft drinks, the supermarket revealed today. Asda’s plan means 814.2 tonnes of sugar, or 3.25 billion calories, will be slashed across 26 Asda products by May 2015, as the sugar backlash gains momentum.
Products facing the sugar cull include Chosen By You cola and lemonade, and SmartPrice apple juice and orange juice.
The move follows Asda’s 10% cut to sugar in high juice products last year.
“We are continually looking at ways to make it easier for our shoppers to make healthy choices, while still preserving the great taste that our customers know and love,” said Asda company nutritionist Hayley Marson. “Today marks an important milestone in our work to find new ways to make our products healthier.”
Public Health Minister Jane Ellison welcomed Asda’s move, calling it “an excellent step forward” and encouraged other businesses to follow suit.
These latest sugar cuts are part of Asda’s commitment to Public Health England’s Change4Life campaign, which this January is encouraging families to switch to lower-sugar products.
“Asda has been a partner of Change4Life since it launched six years ago, so we are delighted they are supporting this year’s Sugar Swaps campaign,” said Public Health England National Director of Health and Wellbeing Professor Kevin Fenton. “One of the ways that Change4Life looks to help address obesity in England is by working in partnership with a range of commercial and public sector organisations in order to reach consumers in a range of ways. We welcome efforts by manufacturers and supermarkets in reformulating products.”
Asda’s announcement comes hot off the heels of Sainsbury’s soft drink sugar cull in November. The supermarket slashed 946 tonnes of sugar from high juice squash drinks and removed 70% of sugar from own brand lemonade and 30% from own brand cola.
Similarly, the Co-operative group pledged to remove 100 million teaspoons of sugar from its shelves through the launch of a ‘no added sugar’ high juice squash range last June. Waitrose, meanwhile, began removing 7.1 tonnes of sugar from its chilled fruit juices last March, whilst Tesco’s sugar cuts in recent years mean the average Tesco shopper now consumes 20% less sugar through soft drinks than they did in 2011.