20 Sep 2019

The BDA has expressed concern about the lack of progress by companies in reducing sugar content of foods which contribute the most sugar to children's diets, following the publication of a progress report by Public Heath England today

BDA Deputy Chief Executive Sue Kellie said: “This second progress report on the voluntary sugar reduction programme shows a worrying lack of progress overall. A 2.9% reduction by 2018 is so far short of the 20% target by 2020 as to make it seem very unlikely that it will be achieved.

“It is disappointing that there is so much variation between both food categories and between different food companies. It is clear that some are engaging with the voluntary scheme while others are choosing to ignore it. That some companies have increased the amount of sugar in their products is particularly worrying.

“By comparison, the compulsory soft drinks industry levy has driven a significant reduction, with the average sugar content of drinks reduced by 28.8%. We hope the government will consider whether a compulsory approach in other food and drink categories could drive much faster change.

“Reformulation is one of a number of ways that government needs to act to support consumers to make healthier food choices. We hope that the lack of progress will encourage government to take action in other areas, such as the introduction of tighter restrictions on advertising and promotion of high fat, sugar and salt products.”

Notes to the editor:

The British Dietetic Association (BDA), founded in 1936, is the professional association and trade union for dietitians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation’s largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with over 9,500 members.

Dietitians are highly qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. They are statutorily regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), alongside other Allied Health Professions.

Dietitians use the most up to date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices. They work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media and government. Their advice influences food and health policy across the spectrum from government and global industry to local communities and individuals