Mal­tese soft drinks in­dus­try com­mits to re­duce added sug­ars by 10% by 2020

Lo­cal pledge will con­trib­ute to de­liv­ery of Euro­pean 10% sugar re­duc­tion com­mit­ment

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

The Mal­tese soft drinks in­dus­try has an­nounced it will re­duce added sug­ars in its prod­ucts by 10% by 2020, con­tribut­ing to the de­liv­ery of the re­cent Euro­pean soft drink in­dus­try 10% sugar re­duc­tion com­mit­ment.

This ini­tia­tive responds to chang­ing con­sumer pref­er­ences re­gard­ing sugar in­take and the calls from Mem­ber States and the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion for a co­or­di­nated ap­proach to re­for­mu­la­tion and sugar re­duc­tion.

In soft drinks, re­duc­tion in added sug­ars leads di­rectly to re­duced calo­ries. To reach its am­bi­tious tar­get, the soft drinks sec­tor in Malta – which in­cludes well­known brands such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Kin­nie – will take the fol­low­ing ac­tions: • Re­for­mu­late ex­ist­ing prod­ucts in­clud­ing the use of low calo­rie sweet­en­ers. In­no­vate to in­tro­duce new prod­ucts with no or re­duced sugar and low calo­rie sweet­en­ers. In­crease the avail­abil­ity of smaller pack sizes to al­low por­tion con­trol and mod­er­a­tion In­vest in the pro­mo­tion of drinks with re­duced or no sugar to ed­u­cate and ac­tively en­cour­age con­sumer choice to­wards low and no calo­rie prod­ucts. Com­mit to mon­i­tor the progress of added sugar re­duc­tion achieved us­ing in­de­pen­dent ex­ter­nal re­search and to share this with stake­holder. •

An­nounc­ing the move yes­ter­day, Pres­i­dent of the Malta Cham­ber of Com­merce, An­ton Borg, said, “We wel­come the EU’s pol­icy ap­proach to sugar re­duc­tion through re­for­mu­la­tion and new prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. We firmly be­lieve all food and bev­er­age sec­tors need to play their part, in close part­ner­ship with the rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers, in driv­ing a suc­cess­ful strat­egy, to com­bat non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases associated with obe­sity and ex­ces­sive sugar con­sump­tion.”

The com­mit­ment is sup­ported by 83% of the soft drink in­dus­try in Malta, which is rep­re­sented by the Coca-Cola Sys­tem in Malta (The Coca-Cola Com­pany in Malta and lo­cal bot­tling part­ner, GSD Mar­ket­ing Lim­ited) and Pep­siCo in Malta and lo­cal bot­tling part­ner Si­monds Far­sons Cisk plc. Sparkling and still soft drinks are in­cluded. Other cat­e­gories such as bot­tled wa­ter, juices, milk-based or hot bev­er­ages are not in­cluded.

Maria Mi­callef, Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer, GSD Mar­ket­ing. Ltd, bot­tling part­ner of The Coca-Cola Com­pany in Malta, com­mented on the ini­tia­tive: “Con­sumers are more con­scious than ever about their sugar and calo­rie in­take. We sup­port the view of the world’s lead­ing health au­thor­i­ties that peo­ple should con­trol their in­take of added sugar - in­clud­ing sugar from soft drinks - and agree that too much sugar and ex­cess calo­ries are not good for any­one. We are com­mit­ted to help­ing our con­sumers manage their sugar in­take and to make the right de­ci­sions for them and their fam­i­lies.”

Nor­man Aquilina, Group Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of Si­monds Far­sons Cisk, au­tho­rised bot­tlers for Pep­siCo in Malta stated: “Though the is­sue at hand is cer­tainly not ex­clu­sive or spe­cific to the soft drinks in­dus­try, we come well­pre­pared to en­dorse this pledge. Hence we are here to­day pub­licly com­mit­ting to play our part to re­duce over­all calo­rie and sugar con­sump­tion. As a com­pany we have long been look­ing into re­for­mu­la­tion and new prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, re­sult­ing in the in­tro­duc­tion of var­i­ous prod­ucts with lower sugar con­tent on the lo­cal market for a num­ber of years. We fully en­dorse this pledge and will con­tinue work­ing to re­duce sugar con­tent in our soft drinks port­fo­lio in line with the stated ob­jec­tives, and we hope gov­ern­ment will en­cour­age and sup­port in­dus­try in the un­der­tak­ing of such ini­tia­tives.”

The soft drinks in­dus­try is the first sec­tor to come for­ward with a com­mit­ment in re­sponse to the EU’s gen­eral 10% added sugar re­duc­tion tar­get. The in­dus­try is al­ready ac­tively work­ing with lo­cal gov­ern­ments and stake­hold­ers across Europe in driv­ing sugar re­duc­tion and looks for­ward to con­tin­u­ing these ef­forts tai­lored to lo­cal sit­u­a­tions and needs.

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