Leading Australian beverage companies have cut sugar by seven per cent, according to the first progress report on the non-alcoholic beverage industry’s sugar reduction pledge.
Asahi Lifestyle Beverages, Coca-Cola Amatil, Coca-Cola Australia and PepsiCo Australia all signed the pledge in June 2018 to reduce sugar across its product portfolios by 20 per cent by 2025. These companies are four signatories out of around 70 members of the Australian Beverages Council who have committed to the pledge, with the report stating more members are expected to join in the future.
The Australian Beverages Council has partnered with KPMG to collect the industry’s results and report on performance on an annual basis through to 2025.
Beverages Council CEO Geoff Parker told Food & Drink Business that the sugar reduction pledge is already more than one third of the way to reaching its goal, with the four signatories representing around 80 per cent of the industry volume.
“The Australian Beverages council and the four signatories of the pledge – Asahi Beverages, Coca-Cola Amatil, Coca-Cola Australia and PepsiCo Australia – are all very pleased with the seven per cent result,” Parker said.
“It’s a step in the right direction to reach the goal, but we have a way to go. We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved so far.”
The report found that in 2015, baselines sugar content of beverages sold by the pledge signatories was 6.02 grams per 100ml, and in 2018 the sugar content reduced to 5.59 grams per 100ml.
The Sugar Reduction Pledge is supported by Minster for Health, Hon Greg Hunt, who has congratulated the industry on its progress in announcement at Parliament House today (25 November).
“The Morrison Government supports pragmatic and appropriate action to tackle obesity, particularly through initiatives that support Australians to live healthier lives,” said Hunt.
“The partnership between the industry and the Morrison Government is a clear sign that collaborative solutions are available to tackle the complex issue of obesity by encouraging healthy diets.”
Parker told F&DB that the Beverages Council will continue to work with the signatories and the government in supporting similar initiatives, such as the National Preventative Health Strategy, the National Obesity Strategy and the ongoing Health Star Rating system.
“We are always encouraging more companie to support the pledge where they can so we will be launching a supporters tier in Q1 2020 for companies that aren’t able to be directly involved in the pledge but believe in the cause,” said Parker.
“It’s really all about providing more choice for the consumer and options for healthier alternatives.”
Some of the initiatives undertaken by the pledge signatories to reduce its sugar levels from 2015 to 2018 included:
- Reformulating existing products;
- Increasing sale volume of low and no sugar varieties;
- Introducing smaller pack sizes or reducing container sizes;
- A cap in sugar content on all existing drinks as well as new recipes launched in Australia; and
- Where practical, transition vending machines to include more, low or no sugar varieties.
The companies were ranked as follows on our annual Food & Drink Business Top 100 Food and Beverage Companies 2019: Coco-Cola Amatil (#3); Asahi (#15); and PepsiCo (#22).