Public Health England (PHE) has set new sugar reduction targets for juice and milk-based drinks, including hot chocolates and sweetened coffees.
The beverages are currently exempt from the government’s Soft Drinks Industry Levy, so they have now been added to the existing categories within the voluntary sugar reduction programme. The exemption of milk based drinks from the levy will be reviewed by the Treasury in 2020.
By mid-2021, sugar in juices (apart from those made from a single fruit of vegetable) must be cut by 5%, with a single portion capped to 150 calories. For milk-based drinks there’s a 20% sugar reduction target and a cap of 300 calories per serving.
To meet the targets, the drinks industry can reformulate, reduce portion sizes or encourage purchases of lower sugar products.
The move is unlikely to ease pressure on the government to extend the levy to milk-based drinks.