Drink firm to reduce sugar content of Lucozade and Ribena
on 22/01/2013 15:13:31
The move was announced in Britain today, but makers Glaxo Smith Kline have confirmed it will apply in Ireland too.
Around a quarter of Irish children are classed as overweight or obese.
The sugar in the Ribena ready-to-drink line and Lucozade Energy will be cut by "up to 10%", while AG Barr will reduce the calorie content across its drinks range, which includes IrnBru, by 5%.
England has some of the highest obesity rates in the developed world, with 60% of adults and one third of 10 and 11-year-olds being overweight or obese.
The eight new drink and food manufacturers, supermarket and catering companies to have signed up to the pledge join 23 others including Mars and Tesco.
AG Barr later confirmed it had pledged to reduce calories across its portfolio of drinks but clarified it had no plans to reduce the sugar content of its regular IrnBru product "at this time" because "we do not believe customers would accept this".
A spokeswoman said: "We have always recognised that we have a role to play in helping our consumers exercise choice in their calorie consumption. However we can only make a recipe change in one of our products if we are 100% satisfied that the product is absolutely right for our consumers.
"Regular IrnBru is a unique-tasting product with a very loyal consumer base. Any change to the sugar level in IrnBru would impact the product delivery and we do not believe that our consumers would accept this.
"We do however offer IrnBru consumers a choice of pack sizes including 250ml to help them regulate their calorie consumption. We will also continue to maintain our focus on increasing sales of sugar-free IrnBru and its overall proportion of total IrnBru sales.
"Total sales of sugar-free IrnBru has grown by 15% over the last five years, significantly ahead of regular. Regular IrnBru is less than a third of our total business volume."