SUGAR-SWEETENED soft drinks made for the European market have much less sugar than those sold in other markets.
A review of 274 fizzy drinks found that Fanta Orange, for example, has 20 grams less added sugar in the UK (23g/330ml) than the same product in India or Vietnam. A standard-sized can of Pepsi also has 4g less sugar in the UK than it does in Japan.
It wasn’t all good news for the UK sector, however. Action on Sugar, which carried out the study, found that in five well-known drinks – Coca-Cola, Sprite, Dr Pepper, 7Up and Schweppes Tonic Water – the UK version doesn’t have the lowest sugar content. Coca-Cola in Thailand for instance has 3g less sugar per can than in the UK.
Top of the sugar tree are PepsiCo’s Canadian and Indian 7Up drinks with 39g per 330ml serving (around 10 teaspoons). Sprite sold in Austria and Poland has the least (19g).
The discrepancies “clearly show that sugar-sweetened soft drinks can be easily reformulated in the same way as the very successful salt reduction programme in the UK” the campaign group explained.
The British Soft Drinks Association said product development, reformulation and increased availability of smaller pack sizes has reduced sugar by more than 8% in the past three years.
Last week the government ruled out the introduction of a sugar tax.