A campaign to reduce sugar in the confectionery category is next on the agenda for lobbyists behind the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, RN has been told.
In an exclusive interview, nutritionist and Action on Sugar spokesperson Kawther Hashem said: “Confectionery is quite cheap and is constantly on promotion at different retailers throughout the UK, and I think we do eat excess levels of confectionery and sugar from this category.”
Ms Hashem acknowledged efforts were being made by manufacturers to reduce sugar, but said they did not go far enough.
“Even if you make the serving very small, bestsellers are still going to contain more than 100 calories. But Mars, for example, is already focusing on different products and being less reliant on high-sugar products.”
As with soft drinks, a likely tool in cutting sugar, the group suggested, would be a financial penalty on best-selling products. “There is an opportunity to look at taxation on confectionery,” Ms Hashem confirmed.
Meanwhile, one of the most senior figures in the UK soft drinks sector has cast doubt on the effectiveness of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy.
Paul Graham, managing director of Britvic in the UK, said at the company’s annual Soft Drinks Review: “Obesity and health is a broad subject so to tackle it you need to look into education, social deprivation, availability of jobs, price of food, and habitual behaviour. Is the levy going to change anything? I’d say, probably not.”
However, Mr Graham added he believed the efforts of Britvic and other manufacturers in the fight against obesity should be applauded.
“I’d like people to say soft drinks played a big role in getting there. As a category, we have been heavily criticised, but the amount of innovation and reformulation that has gone into this category is probably greater than any other.”
Read the full interview here