UNESDA, the association representing Europe’s soft drinks industry, announces today enhanced health and nutrition commitments to continue to help Europeans manage their intake of added sugars from soft drinks.
At a time of evolving consumer preferences and increasing public health expectations, these commitments are the industry’s contribution to making the healthier choice become the easy choice under the umbrella of the EU Farm to Fork Strategy and its code of conduct for responsible business and marketing practices.
Amongst these commitments is the pledge to reduce average added sugars in soft drinks by another 10% from 2019-2025 across the EU-27 and the UK.
UNESDA shared the previous sector’s achievement: a reduction of added sugars by 14.6 % between 2015-2019. That also accounted for at least 26% less calories within squashes, iced teas and coffees, syrups, and sports drinks. It is the only sector to have committed to the EU added sugars reduction target of 10% by 2020.
We are a consumer-centric business and have always grown by staying close to the needs and wants of our consumers, stakeholders and society at large. We agree that too much sugar isn’t good for anyone and want to enable our consumers to better control their intake of added sugar from our beverages.Nikos Koumettis, President Europe at the Coca-Cola Company
The soft drinks industry will deliver on this new commitment through a wide range of accelerated actions, including changing recipes to reduce sugars in its drinks whilst maintaining great taste. In addition, it will continue to innovate to develop new no- or low- calorie products with different sweetness levels and it will increase the availability and range of small packs to support portion control and enable moderate consumption. The industry will also continue promoting no- and low-sugar/calorie beverages to actively encourage consumer choice towards these products.
Our industry is committed to take positive actions that will drive the right behaviours and affect societal change. Our combined efforts on reducing sugar, increasing the availability of healthier drinks and encouraging responsible consumption demonstrate our commitment to action.Peter Harding, CEO Suntory Beverage and Food Europe
Advertisement and marketing age limit raised to 13 years old
UNESDA also shares plans for new rules within the marketing and advertising to children. Currently, no soft drinks are advertised anywhere in Europe to children younger than 12 years old, where audience consists of more than 35% of this age group. The industry will raise the minimum age limit to 13 years old and lower the audience threshold to 30% so that in practice fewer young children will be directly exposed to advertising for any of its soft drinks.
Europe’s soft drinks industry also remains committed to intensifying its efforts in the coming years to ensure that its school commitments continue to be implemented across Europe. This include NO sales and advertising of any soft drinks in EU primary schools; and offering ONLY no- and low-calorie soft drinks for sale in EU secondary schools and only in non-branded vending machines. “For 20 years, we have been pioneers in reducing average added sugars in our drinks, implementing effective school policies and responsible marketing practices. We are committed to playing our part.” underlined Ellington.