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August 19th. marked a year since the launch of the Government’s Childhood obesity: a plan for action, and the announcement of a Soft Drinks Industry Levy.

Coming into effect from April 2018, the levy targets the only category in the food and drink sector which has consistently reduced sugar intake in recent years.

Gavin Partington, Director General at the British Soft Drinks Association, comments:

“The soft drinks industry has led the way in calorie reduction initiatives for many years, helping consumers to cut their sugar intake from soft drinks by 17 % since 2013.
“In 2015 we became the only category to set a calorie reduction target of 20 % by 2020, as well as voluntarily agreeing not to advertise regular soft drinks to children under 16 – a year ahead of the CAP code revision.”

Next Steps

Public Health England (PHE) marked the anniversary by announcing the next stage of the Childhood Obesity Plan, highlighting a move to focus on calorie reduction.

PHE will consider the evidence on children’s calorie consumption and set the ambition for the calorie reduction programme to remove excess calories from the foods children consume the most.

Ready meals, pizzas, burgers, savoury snacks and sandwiches are the product categories likely to be included in the programme.

Gavin Partington comments:

“We all have a role to play in helping to tackle obesity and we hope our actions on sugar reduction, portion size and promotion of low and no calorie products set an example for the wider food sector.”