A soft drink manufacturer has announced plans to cut sugar in its products to bypass the proposed levy.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory has revealed it will reformulate all of its drink brands to reduce the sugar content by 50% to less than 4.5g per 100ml from July next year.

It also plans to offer zero and low-calorie alternatives for each brand and will clearly label calorie content.

Peter Harding, chief operating officer at Lucozade Ribena Suntory, said: “The announcement is a game-changer for our business and for those people who love and enjoy our drinks.

“The world has changed with consumers now wanting healthier drinks and more action from the brands they regularly enjoy.

“We believe our decision to radically reduce sugar by 50% in Ribena, Lucozade and Orangina is a great moment for our company, consumers and the wider food and drink industry.”

Harpal Rai, of Rai Wine Shop in Harborne, Birmingham, thinks it is a step in the right direction for the health benefits, but is concerned about the taste factor.

This week, Tesco also revealed the sugar content in its own brand soft drinks has been cut by up to 50% over the last five years.

Meanwhile, NHS bosses put forward proposals to ban sugary drinks, including sweet coffees and fruit juices with added sugar, from hospitals last week.

A tax on sugary soft drinks is expected to be implemented in 2018.