Europe’s soft drinks industry to reduce added sugars in beverages by another 10%

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags sugar reduction European union

UNESDA has announced new and enhanced commitments to reduce the average added sugars in beverages by another 10% across Europe.

With the new commitment, the industry association says an overall reduction in average added sugars in soft drinks across Europe will reach 33% compared to 2020. 

'Wide range of accelerated actions'

Announced today, the new commitment is to reduce average added sugars in soft drinks by another 10% from 2019-2025 across the EU-27 and the UK.

This will build on past sugar reduction milestones that the industry achieved from 2015 to 2019 (14.6% reduction on average) and from 2000 to 2015 (13.3% reduction on average).

The commitments cover all soft drinks categories: including still drinks, fruit drinks, carbonates, energy drinks, sports drinks, dilutables, iced teas and coffees, and flavored waters.

UNESDA says the industry will deliver sugar reduction ‘through a wide range of accelerated actions’. This includes reformulation to reduce sugar; innovation in new no or low calorie products with different sweetness levels; and the increased availability of small packs to support portion control and moderate consumption. The industry says it will also continue promoting no- and low-sugar/calorie beverages to actively encourage consumer choice towards these products.

Ian Ellington, UNESDA President and Senior Vice President and Chief Category Officer at PepsiCo Europe, commented: “This additional 10% reduction in added sugars underlines our sector’s collective proactivity and determination to contribute to healthier and balanced diets in Europe​. We will continue to bring innovation and choice to consumers as we implement this pledge.”

Meanwhile, UNESDA is adjusting its policy on marketing and advertising to children. Currently, no soft drinks are advertised anywhere in Europe to children younger than 12 years old, when an audience consists of more than 35% of this age group.

This is being amended by raising the minimum age limit to 13 years old alongside lowering the audience threshold to 30% “so that in practice fewer young children will be directly exposed to advertising for any of its soft drinks”.

Other existing commitments in this arena include the interdiction of sales and advertising of any soft drinks in EU primary schools; and only offering no and low calorie soft drinks for sale in EU secondary schools and only in non-branded vending machines.

UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe is the Brussels-based trade association representing the non-alcoholic beverages sector. The membership of UNESDA comprises 23 national associations across Europe, as well as nine corporate members.

Members are involved in the production and/or distribution of a wide variety of non-alcoholic beverages including still drinks, carbonates, fruit drinks, energy drinks, iced teas and sport drinks.

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