Tesco praised for cutting sugar in own brand drinks

Tesco has been praised for cutting the amount of sugar in its own brand soft drinks, as part of the ongoing fight against obesity.The supermarket giant said it had halved the sugar in products like Tesco Cola as part of a drive to meet nutrition recommendations.

Around 50 products have had their sugar levels cut to below 5g per 100ml, in the final step of a change in its own-branded products that began five years ago.

The move comes ahead of the introduction of a proposed levy on sugary drinks from 2018, where products with 5g of sugar per 100ml will face a lower rate of tax while those with more than 8g per 100ml face higher rates.

Tesco UK and Ireland chief executive Matt Davies said: "This is just one part of our plans to make the food on our shelves healthier by reducing levels of sugar, salt and fat in our own brands.

"We're hoping this initiative will help make it a little easier for our customers to live more healthily."

Soft drinks are notorious for their high sugar content. Credit: PA

Campaigners and government ministers have welcomed the announcement, saying the company's "responsible actions" will help tackle rising rates of obesity and diabetes.

Chris Askew, Diabetes UK chief executive, said: "Similar action from other manufacturers and retailers to make products lower in sugar, saturated fat and salt is vital to tackle rising rates of obesity in the UK.

"Making the healthy choice the easy choice for all of us will help to tackle the rapidly rising number of people developing Type 2 diabetes."

Public health minister Nicola Blackwood said: "It is great to see Tesco leading the field by reducing the level of sugar in their own brand drinks.

"The Government's sugar levy is designed to encourage manufacturers to cut the sugar from their products before the levy comes into force in 2018.

"Responsible actions like this are so important in our fight against childhood obesity."

The new range of reduced soft drinks will be in stores from November 11.