Report: Achieving sugar reduction could improve UK consumers’ health


The Public Health England’s (PHE) strategy to achieve a 20% sugar reduction in food products will help in safeguarding the health of UK consumers, says a report by GlobalData.

Titled ‘The Implications of Introducing a Sugar Tax in the UK and Beyond’, the report highlights the effects of PHE’s 'Sugar Reduction: Achieving the 20%' strategy.

With a rise in obesity rates, approximately 63% of UK consumers are recognising sugar to negatively impact their heath. The strategy aims to achieve at least 20% sugar reduction in food products by 2020 in order to curb childhood obesity.

"Implementation of sugar reduction campaigns and reformulation of products to reduce calorific, salt and saturated fat content will be important steps in this direction."

Foods such as biscuits, ice cream, breakfast cereals, chocolates, sauces, yogurt and cakes contribute majorly towards high-sugar intake in children. Retail sales of these products are forecast to increase from £22bn last year to more than £25bn by 2020, according the report.

The sugar reduction strategy follows the salt reduction programme launched earlier that achieved 11% reduction in salt consumption. The salt reduction strategy brought together manufacturers, action groups and other interested parties to collectively achieve salt reduction, states Ryan Whittaker, Associate Consumer Analyst at GlobalData.

PHE will need to follow a holistic approach instead of solely relying on taxation to achieve results in the long-term. Implementation of sugar reduction campaigns and reformulation of products to reduce calorific, salt and saturated fat content will be important steps in this direction, adds Whittaker. It will also encourage consumers to opt for healthier options and drive manufacturers to produce low sugar or sugar-free products, the report adds.

A sugar reduction plan specifically for the soft drinks industry is already being developed by the HM Treasury. The plan aims to tax soft drinks based on their total sugar content from 2018. An estimated 54% of UK consumers, however, do not plan to change their purchasing decision despite the taxes.

Although consumers in the 18-34yr age group responded to being sensitive to the taxation and, therefore, plan to reduce their purchases.