High Street Food & Drink Brands Join Forces to Tackle Sugar Reduction

Alliance of out-of-home dining companies launch a Code of Practice and commit to changes in health & wellness programmes including a sugar reduction target of 20%, as set out in the Childhood Obesity Plan

An alliance of the largest food and beverage brands on the UK’s high streets have launched a Code of Practice which sets out commitments from a representative industry group, including sugar reduction. The companies include Caffè Nero, Costa, Greggs, McDonald’s, Mitchells & Butlers, Pizza Hut Delivery (YUM!), Premier Inn, Starbucks, Wetherspoons, and Whitbread Restaurants.

The Code, drawn up by a working group from all the participating companies, includes a series of commitments driving responsible behaviour in product development and customer marketing. The ambition is to support the whole out-of-home sector to change its attitude to food and beverage development, building on the long experience of the founder member brands. Each company in the alliance will:

Aim to achieve Public Health England’s sugar reduction target of 20% by 2020, as set out in the Childhood Obesity Plan

Innovate with new products and reformulate recipes to reduce sugar

Offer a variety of choice and lighter options to support the “5 a day” message

Run responsible promotions, continuing to adhere to the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP), Ofcom and Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) codes for advertising to children

Implement ‘nudge’ tactics that encourage customers to make healthier choices

Offer healthier children’s products or menus

Provide clear, easy to understand, and readily available nutritional information

Work with trade associations and other industry bodies to lead the industry forward

This new Code of Practice, which has been reviewed by the British Nutrition Foundation, an independent expert body which will also advise the alliance on its progress against the set of commitments in the Code, acknowledges that consumers are increasingly looking for a wide range of choice, and that clear, transparent, nutritional information should be readily available when eating out. The out-of-home Alliance highlights commitments from each of these companies to make changes to existing product line-ups, and develop new products which contain lower levels of sugar, calories, saturated fat and/or salt content, without compromising on flavour.

An alliance spokesperson said: “We’re proud of this Code of Practice for the out of home dining sector, which has been drawn up with input by businesses from pub chains to coffee shops. These pledges will positively benefit the millions of customers we welcome into our stores and restaurants every day, to help make a significant collective impact. We’re pleased that by working together we have been able to make strong commitments to reduce sugar. We now call on other businesses in our sector, large and small, to join us in adopting the code.”

Prof Judy Buttriss, Director General of the British Nutrition Foundation, said: “We really welcome this development which recognises the important role these major high street brands in the out-of-home sector can play in improving the nation’s diet. There is a need to ensure that healthier options are always prominent, attractive and affordable, and to encourage others in the sector, large and small, to follow this lead. BNF has developed on-line training that can support companies on this journey”.


In January 2016 Starbucks announced a target to reduce added sugar in indulgent beverages by 25% by the end of 2020.

We have already made significant progress towards this objective:

At least a 10% reduction in added sugar in our Frappuccino range

15% reduction in White Chocolate Mocha range

5% reduction in our core syrups

20% less sugar in any new syrup innovations

We introduced a new range of chilled coffees (Cold Brew & Nitro Cold Brew) and Classic Teavana Iced Teas which either have zero sugar or versions that are lightly sweetened

In November 2016 we introduced the “short” size to our menu and stopped promoting the Venti size on our more indulgent products/product promotions

In July 2017, we introduced a smaller Mini Frappuccino size to our menu’s and introduced communication on our menu board to help customers make their Frappuccino “lighter”

We offer sugar-free versions of our core syrups

63% of all beverages sold in the UK in 2016 contained zero added sugar

During 2016, Starbucks also committed to reduce sugar across our bakery range by 20% by end 2020 in support of the Childhood Obesity Plan.

The results achieved up to August 2017 represent an overall weighted sales sugar reduction of 6.2% (vs 2015 baseline data). Reformulation of our morning goods and cookies resulted in a 18.3% and 5.3% reduction in sugar/100g respectively. We also relaunched our Carrot Cake in March 2017 with a 16% sugar reduction, loaf cakes in November 2017 with a 6-17% sugar reduction across the range and introduced a range of mini cakes in November 2017 with less than 300Kcal/ portion. Further reformulation work is planned for 2018.

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Starbucks UK and Harry Kane Foundation invite the nation to ‘kick off a conversation over a coffee’