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OPC responds to the Australian Beverages Council’s progress report to reduce sugar across the industry

Monday 25 November, 2019

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition has responded to the Australian Beverages Council’s progress report to reduce sugar across the industry.

“The Australian Beverages Council’s progress report announcing a 7% reduction of sugar in drinks is a feeble attempt to avoid real change.”

“The Government has just launched a consultation to tackle Australia’s obesity epidemic and already industry is trying to wriggle out of proper regulation with a smokescreen of compliance.”

“This is little more than an attempt to capitalise on the low-sugar trend and drive sales.”

“The reason for any reduction, albeit modest, is due to a general shift toward low sugar beverages, coupled with venues starting to remove high-sugar products from sale. We’re not seeing an actual reduction of the sugar content in high sugar drinks needed to curb Australia’s obesity epidemic.”

“In 2018 the UK’s soft drink industry levy resulted in a 20% reduction in sugar since it was implemented in 2015, removing 30,100 tonnes of sugar from soft drinks a year in Great Britain. Experience shows that regulation has a strong impact in encouraging reformulation.”

 “Without stronger mandatory action, including a 20% health levy and clearer nutrition labelling, it’s unlikely that this pledge will do anything significant to deter people from drinking existing high-sugar drinks.”