Leading kids’ yoghurt Yoplait has become the first brand to announce major reductions in sugar since the start of reformulation talks between the industry and Public Health England (PHE).
The General Mills brand Yoplait is rolling out a 17% sugar reduction across its entire Petits Filous range which will be complete by the end of this month.
It also revealed plans for similar reductions across the rest of its portfolio, including Frubes, early next year.
The move follows talks between yoghurt manufacturers and PHE at the start of the month, which called for a 20% reduction in sugar in the category by 2020.
Yoplait’s sugar reduction will see sugar levels in Petits Filous reduced to 9.9g per 100g, which it said was well below the current sales weighted average of flavoured yoghurts, although it is still above PHE’s average target for the yoghurts category of 8.8% by 2020.
“We are the leading manufacturer of kids yoghurts and we feel we have a duty to lead the sector when it comes to reducing sugar,” said Yoplait marketing director Richard Williams.
“There is a backdrop of concern over rising levels of childhood obesity and we want to be part of the solution. The fact that PHE is holding these talks has amplified the discussions.”
Williams said Yoplait believed it was important not to replace sugar with sweeteners but to try to re-educate kids’ palates.
“Taste is absolutely critical but we know in our category in particular that the naturalness of the products is vital. Mums don’t want lots of artificial additions,” he said. “This is a big issue for the category and we have done this reformulation using fruit and different ways of using ingredients without artificial sweeteners. They are less sweet and we hope this way children will get used to a less sweet taste.”
Petits Filous is Yoplait’s largest kids’ brand and the sugar reduction includes pouches, big pots and small pots which account for 37% of the Yoplait kids’ portfolio volume sales (IRI MAT 5th Nov) and more than 20% of total kids’ yoghurt volume sales annually (IRI MAT 5th Nov).
The reformulation has also seen the levels of vitamin D boosted from 25% to 50% NRV (nutrient reference value). “Yoghurts and fromage frais are among the biggest sources of sugar in children’s diet,” said PHE chief nutritionist Dr Alison Tedstone. “PHE is currently working with industry to reduce the sugar content of these products, so we hope other companies follow suit.”