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Waitrose to cut sugar levels in own label cereals

| International retailers

Waitrose has announced that it plans to reduce sugar in its range of breakfast cereals during 2016 as part of the industry’s moves to help tackle the UK’s obesity crisis.

The commitment will involve a 15% sugar reduction in Waitrose’s own label cornflakes, one of its top selling lines, and a “significant” reduction in other popular products, including honey and nut cornflakes and choco pops. Waitrose said the changes to breakfast cereals will mean that by the end of this year it will have removed nearly 25 tonnes of sugar from its own label products across a variety of products categories. 

The work builds on the supermarket's success in reducing sugar during the last year. To date a total of seven tonnes of sugar have been removed from chilled juices, and 14.6 tonnes removed from own label yoghurts. 

In addition, the retailer has reduced the sugar content of undiluted juices, cordials and squashes by between five and 15% without the use of sweeteners and by between 10 and 30% for fizzy drinks. 

Waitrose Nutrition Manager, Moira Howie, said: “Breakfast is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle so Waitrose will continue to focus attention on cereals and other popular breakfast choices such as sweet pastries, smoothies, yoghurts and juices in the coming year, so we really can help customers make a healthier choice. 

“We have already made significant progress in reducing sugar across everyday items like drinks and yoghurts. However, it is not simply a question of removing sugar we are also adding healthier ingredients which have nutritional benefits into our own label range, such as wholegrains, vegetables and fruit.” 

A number of supermarkets have been cutting sugar from their products amid growing pressure on the industry to help control soaring levels of obesity. Reducing sugar intake is being hailed as one the key measures that will improve people’s health with calls for a tax to be introduced on sugary food and drinks. Earlier this month, England’s chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies said that the food and drink industry is “on notice” that a sugar tax will be brought in unless it curbs the amount of sugar in people’s diets.

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