Tesco Ireland reduces sugar content in all own brand soft drinks

Tesco is first retailer to respond to Government’s A Healthy Weight for Ireland Plan

Tuesday, 6th December 2016: As part of its ongoing commitment to help Ireland’s shoppers make healthier choices, Tesco Ireland has today announced reductions in sugar levels in its own brand soft drinks, halving the sugar content in some products including Tesco Cola. The move makes Tesco the first retailer in Ireland to respond to the Government’s A Healthy Weight for Ireland Plan.  

As a result, Tesco customers are now consuming on average over 20 per cent less sugar from its own brand soft drinks than in 2011. Additionally, Tesco Ireland has committed to re-organising its 148 stores to give better positioning to low sugar drinks.  This will involve stocking as many low sugar drinks as sugary drinks and giving display prominence to no/low sugar drinks in stores.  

Tesco Ireland CEO, Andrew Yaxley, said: “Our customers have made it clear to us that they’re becoming increasingly keen to have healthier options available and as always we are adapting to meet their needs. We have worked hard to make sure our own brand soft drinks still taste great, just with less sugar, and we have adjusted our range to increase the percentage of healthier soft drinks we sell in our stores. We’re hoping this initiative will help make it a little easier for our customers to make healthier choices.”

The move by Tesco was today welcomed by the Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD.

Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD said: “As a Minister with responsibility for Health Promotion, I very much welcome initiatives towards healthier food options for consumers. The launch of A Healthy Weight for Ireland Plan set out the need to reduce the sugar, fat and salt content of food and beverages through reformulation and I am delighted that Tesco has responded with this important announcement today.  There is no single solution to addressing the causes and problems associated with overweight and obesity but today’s announcement is a step in the right direction. I look forward to seeing more producers and retailers taking similar initiatives."

Professor Donal O’Shea Consultant Endocrinologist at St Vincent's University Hospital and St Columcille’s Hospital said, “This is a really important move by Tesco. Anything that makes the healthier choice easier is positive and this initiative will help the consumer to do just that.  It’s a double move - reformulating to have less sugar content and repositioning within the store so that the low calorie options are in prominent places. This is exactly what we need to see happening – and it needs to happen across the wider retail sector.”

Since 2011 Tesco has been on an ambitious journey reformulating its own brand soft drinks and today the final 28 products in the 189-strong range in Ireland have been reformulated to below 5g of sugar per 100ml.

Today’s announcement is part of a much wider ongoing effort from Tesco to help customers make healthier choices. In May 2014, Tesco was the only retailer in Ireland to commit to removing sweets and chocolates from all checkouts across the country.  In addition, reductions in salt without compromising on flavour and clearer labelling across its ranges of sandwiches, ready meals and soups are all part of its ongoing support for a healthier Ireland.

In September the Government launched “A Healthy Weight for Ireland – Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016- 2025” to reverse current obesity trends, which include 60% of adults and one in four children in Ireland now either overweight or obese.