Australia’s major soft drink makers have agreed to reduce the amount of sugar in their products by 20 per cent.
The makers of Coca-Cola and Pepsi are among those who have signed up to the pledge, which will see sugar cut by 10 per cent by 2020 and a further 10 per cent by 2025.
The commitment covers carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, juice and fruit drinks, cordials, sports and electrolyte drinks, iced teas, flavoured milk and frozen drinks.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
Health Minister Greg Hunt has welcomed the move, saying anything that helps improve the health of Australians is a good thing.
“We know that the challenge of obesity is real and significant,” Mr Hunt said.
“We still have slightly less than two-thirds of Australians who have a weight that is deemed to be above the healthy weight range so there’s so much more that needs to be done.”
Australian Beverages Council CEO Geoff Parker denies the move is designed to avoid a potential sugar tax.
“This has nothing to do with a sugar tax, both major political parties have rejected a sugar tax,” Mr Parker said.
“There is no discernible evidence from anywhere in the world that such a tax has any impact on public health.”
The industry is confident consumers won’t notice a difference in the taste of their favourite drinks but admits it will be difficult.
“Taking out sugar or reducing sugar or kilojoules is hard to do and quite costly,” Mr Parker said.
“We think these measures are certainly a stretch but definitely achievable.”