Europe’s soft drinks industry agrees 10% sugar reduction by 2020

Industry fails to meet 5% sugar reduction target
Credit: Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley

Europe’s soft drinks industry is rolling out a new initiate to combat sugars levels amid surmounting scientific evidence and changing consumer preferences.

The commitment will be deployed across Europe and sees added sugars reduced by a further 10% by 2020. The industry has been under added pressure from Member States and the European Commission (EC) who have called for a “coordinated approach to reformulation and sugar reduction”.

To meet this aim, the industry will use a combination of innovation, reformulation, smaller pack sizes, and by encouraging consumers towards low- and no-calorie alternatives.

The commitment follows existing and new local industry pledges on sugar reduction, and covers over 500 million consumers. It supports the EU Roadmap for Action on Food Product Improvement and the Annex on Voluntary Reduction of Added Sugars, with the 10% figure agreed between Member States and the EC.

“This 10% sugar reduction commitment represents a tripling of the pace of our efforts to date,” said Stanislas de Gramont, President of UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe and CEO of Suntory Beverage and Food Europe.

He added: “We will need to employ a wide array of tools in order to achieve our ambitious target and we hope other food categories will follow suit in order to generate critical mass.”

Dan Sayre and Nikos Koumettis, Presidents of The Coca-Cola Company’s Business Units in Europe, said: “We agree that too much sugar isn’t good for anyone and want to enable consumers to better control their intake of added sugar.

“We believe that this and the other actions we are taking will help more people make the right decisions for them and their families.”

The soft drinks industry is the first sector to come forward with a commitment in response to the EU’s general 10£ added sugar reduction target.