Public Health Minister Anna Soubry announced today that eight new companies have signed up to the calorie reduction pledge, with leading soft drinks brands Lucozade and Ribena, reducing the amount of sugar and calories in some of their products by up to 10 per cent as part of the Government’s drive to curb obesity levels.
Speaking at the Food and Drink Federation’s ‘Delivering Healthy Growth’ stakeholder event, the minister unveiled the latest companies to sign up to the Responsibility Deal’s calorie reduction pledge. GSK’s brands Ribena ready to drink and Lucozade Energy will reduce the amount of sugar and calories by up to 10 per cent; AG Barr, who produce IrnBru, will reduce the calorific content across their portfolio of drinks by five per cent; and Britvic will launch two J2O flavours in a new slim-line can which will represent a 10 per cent calorie reduction compared with their standard 275mL bottle.
Alongside these companies, Burtons Biscuits, CH & Co caterers, Co-operative Foods, Dairy Crest and Lexington Catering have also made pledges to help their customers eat and drink fewer calories. They have joined the other companies who made commitments last March when the calorie reduction pledge was first launched.
Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said:
“Being overweight and not eating well is bad for our health. To reverse the rising tide of obesity we have challenged the nation to reduce our calorie intake by five billion calories a day. On average that’s just 100 calories less a day per person.
“Today’s announcement will cut the calories and sugar by up to 10 per cent in leading brands like Lucozade and Ribena. Through the Responsibility Deal we are already achieving real progress in helping people reduce the calories and salt in their diet. Overall, more than 480 companies including many leading high street brands have signed up to the Responsibility Deal.
“All of the major supermarkets have now committed to removing artificial trans fats, and over 70 per cent of fast food and takeaway meals sold on the high street have calories clearly labelled, but more needs to be done.
“We are encouraged by the extra businesses which have signed up today but I want to see even more progress. All in the food industry have a part to play and I now expect companies which are not yet taking action to come forward and make pledges.”
Chair of the Responsibility Deal Food Network Dr Susan Jebb said:
“I’m pleased to see the soft drinks manufacturers, like GSK, AG Barr and Britvic join Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to make some very real commitments to help consumers cut down on their calories as they take control of their weight.”
“I hope we will now see others, including the out of home sector, taking a careful look at how they can build on this and come to the table with new commitments to encourage their customers choose smaller portions and swap to lower calorie options.”
England has some of the highest obesity rates in the developed world with 60 per cent of adults and one third of 10 and 11 year olds being overweight or obese. The Government’s Obesity Call to Action outlined that consuming too many calories is at the heart of the problem and through initiatives like the Responsibility Deal calorie reduction pledge concerted action is needed.