Government guidelines aim to cut 200,000 tonnes of sugar by 2020 -- and chocolate bars will get smaller

LONDON — New government guidelines on reducing levels of sugar in foods such as biscuits, cakes, spreads and yoghurts could see as much as 200,000 tonnes of sugar removed from the nation’s diet.

Public Health England published guidelines on Thursday aimed at reducing sugar intake by 20% within three years. 

The food industry warned that snack food portion sizes, already shrinking to account for the fall in the pound since the June Brexit referendum and higher commodities prices, will get even smaller.  

Ian Wright, director general of the Food and Drink Federation, the association for UK food and drink manufacturers, said: “Manufacturers know the special place their products have in people’s lives.”

“Companies are working hard to overcome technical challenges and make gradual tweaks to favourite foods that regular customers can accept. They are also developing new low sugar alternatives. In some foods, portion size reductions will be necessary,” said Wright.

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of PHE, said: “The UK has one of the most innovative food sectors in the world and it’s in everyone’s best interests to ensure it remains a dynamic and thriving sector of our economy.”

“The scale of our ambition to reduce sugar is unrivalled anywhere in the world, which means the UK food industry has a unique opportunity to innovate and show the rest of the world how it can be done. I believe reducing sugar in the nation’s diet will be good for health and ultimately good for UK food business,” said Selbie.

Last year the Bank of England noted that supermarkets and other food retailers were “re-engineering” products to counter the rising cost of imports in the wake of Brexit.


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