Starbucks coffee

Action on Sugar today turned its fire on the “dangerously high” levels of sugar in many hot beverages found in high street coffee shops.

New research from the campaign group showed that 98% of the 131 hot flavoured drinks analysed would receive a ‘red’ (high) label for excessive levels of sugars per serving as sold - with 35% containing the same amount or more sugar than a can of Coca-Cola.

It named Starbucks’ Hot Mulled Fruit (grape with chai, orange and cinnamon venti) as the worst offender, containing 25 teaspoons of sugar, more than three times the maximum adult daily intake of free sugars recommended.

Other high street chains named included Costa, Caffè Nero and KFC, all offering products containing at least 13 spoonfuls of sugar.

“This is yet again another example of a scandalous amount of sugar added to our food and drink,” said chair of AOS Professor Graham MacGregor.

“No wonder we have the highest rates of obesity in Europe. Cameron now has all the evidence to make the UK the first country in the world to stop the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic. To do this, Cameron has to be radical and follow every single action that we have set out in our comprehensive plan. Otherwise it will be the final nail in an already bankrupt NHS.”

Professor MacGregor this week told The Grocer Cameron was a “walking disaster”, as the prime minister looks poised to give the industry one last chance to prove voluntary reformulation can work, while keeping the threat of a sugar tax in the background.

The Grocer revealed last week that while plans for a sugar tax would be included in the forthcoming Childhood Obesity Strategy, Cameron is expected to stop short of pushing ahead immediately, with food and drink companies to be given a limited window to hit a new set of voluntary reformulation targets.