Sugar reduction targets are up to 82% below the government’s voluntary goal by 2020, according to new data.
Looking to tackle the UK’s obesity levels, the target of a 20% reduction in sugar for the food insustry has been missed.
The results of the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities final report released this week saw a 3.5% reduction in sales weighted an average total sugar per 100g in products sold between 2015 and 2020.
Of the product categories included in the programme, the report found a 7.1% increase in the tonnes of sugar sold, including a 26.9% increase in the tonnes of sugar sold in chocolate confectionary and 24.5% across sauces and sweet spreads.
However, yoghurts and fromage frais saw an 18.4% fall in sugar during the period of 2015 to 2020, while breakfast cereals were also down 11.3% with a decrease of 6.5% across puddings.
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Health campaigners have as a result called on the government to implement tougher restrictions, as Action on Sugar and Salt chairman Professor Graham MacGregor told The Grocer that the “good progress in breakfast cereals and yoghuts makes it abundantly clear that a voluntary reformulation approach simply does not work.”
He said: “Not surprisingly the plan was an abject failure due to a lack of enforcement.”
Obesity Health Alliance director Katharine Jenner added: “A voluntary approach has been shown not to be able to deliver the required level of progress to make any significant and lasting change.
“We hope lessons have been learned from this vital monitoring of food industry activity from the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities and that ministers now fully understand that insufficient progress has been made and that alternative levers are needed.
“The government must now explore ways of expanding this model in order to fix the broken food environment and make the healthy option the easiest and most affordable option for everyone.”