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Pressing for Sugar Reduction report

Today, we have joined 40 health organisations, academics and food groups to send a letter calling on the government to publish the final report of the voluntary food industry Sugar Reduction Programme. We are calling for the delays to end and for the report to be published now.

It has been exactly four years since the introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) and the report will provide evidence of its success. It is also expected to expose a disappointing lack of progress in reducing sugar in other food categories covered by the voluntary reduction programme.

The SDIL successfully removed 48,000 metric tonnes of sugar per year from soft drinks between 2015 and 2019. This is equivalent to the weight of 4,000 double decker buses and translates to a reduction of 30g per household, per week, in sugar consumption.

There has been progress, but we urgently need to take more action on sugar across other products. Sugar in yoghurts and breakfast cereal has been reduced, but progress on other products covered by the voluntary programme averaged just a 3% reduction per 100g, compared to a 35.4% reduction in drinks covered by the SDIL.

Dental teams are currently facing an unprecedented backlog of patients, compounded by a worrying increase in the consumption of sugary products during the pandemic. Many people are living with undiagnosed or unmanaged conditions, including tooth decay, due to excess sugar consumption. It is vital the Government takes action to prevent further pressure on healthcare services and releases the report now.