Leading drinks companies pledge to cut sugar by 20 per cent

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Australia’s non-alcoholic drinks companies say they’re taking the lead in supporting a healthier nation by cutting sugar.

The Australian Beverages Council, the peak body representing the non-alcoholic beverages industry, has made a commitment to reduce sugar across the industry by 20 per cent by 2025. The Council’s members include Coca-Cola South Pacific, Coca-Cola Amatil, PepsiCo, Asahi Beverages and Frucor Suntory.

The commitment applies to all non-alcoholic drinks represented by those members of the Council that have signed the pledge, including: carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, sports and electrolyte drinks, frozen drinks, bottled and packaged waters, juice and fruit drinks, cordials, iced teas, ready-to-drink coffees, flavoured milk products, and flavoured plant milks.

“The beverage sector has an important role to play in helping Australians to reduce their sugar consumption and we encourage other food and beverage categories to take similar action,” Australian Beverages Council CEO Geoff Parker said.

“This commitment is the first example in Australia where an industry as a whole has self-regulated its use of sugar in this manner.”

Minister for Health Greg Hunt MP endorsed the commitment in an announcement at Parliament House on Monday.

“The Turnbull government supports considered and appropriate action to tackle obesity, and encourages all Australians to live healthier lives,” he said.

“Today’s sugar-reduction commitment by the non-alcoholic-beverages sector is a clear sign that industry is taking additional steps to support our initiatives to maintain a healthy diet and to lead an active life.

“It’s particularly important that the industry has worked constructively with a number of farming and agricultural groups, particularly those in the sugarcane-growing industry ahead of this announcement.”

A review of the pledge will be evaluated by an independent auditor in two components: a 10 per cent reduction by 2020 and a total of 20 per cent by 2025.

“All stakeholders, including the government, expect us to critically evaluate this initiative,” Mr Parker added. “We intend to ensure a rigorous and continuous independent review process through to 2025 to ensure all signatories contribute to the industry’s commitment to reduce sugar.”