03 Juices - Ben

Healthier baskets

A spoonful of sugar

We significantly reduced the sugar content of our juice drinks whilst improving quality.

The challenge

Sugars in soft drinks contribute to excess sugar consumption in the UK and we’ve been working to reduce the amount of sugar in our drinks without compromising on quality or taste.

With average sugar intake at twice the recommended amount, and obesity and type-two diabetes on the rise, we’ve looked at ways to reduce sugar in our customers’ baskets to help them lead healthier lives.

What we're doing

In July 2014,we significantly reduced levels of sugar in our chilled juice drinks by removing as much of it as we could without impacting the great taste we achieve through our fruit blending. In addition to sugar removal, we also used Stevia, a natural sugar substitute, to offer reduced sugar versions of our three top selling juice drinks. Stevia is a leafy green plant, native to South America that is naturally sweet and has zero kilocalories. These three reduced sugar juice drinks now contain 30 per cent less sugar than our standard comparable juice drinks

Our sugar reduction work across chilled juice drinks has removed 66.8 tonnes of sugar from our customers' baskets, equivalent to 263 million kcals.

In July 2015, our ‘Seed to Sip’ project built on this work further improve the quality and taste of our chilled and ambient juice drinks, whilst reducing even more sugar in the process. We anticipate that over the course of a year between July 2015 and July 2016, our work will remove 34.9 tonnes of sugar from our customers’ baskets, equivalent to 137 million kcals. 

For example, customers who switch to buy our reduced sugar Fruit Cocktail drink, will consume just under a teaspoon less sugar per 150 ml serving. For a customer consuming 1 litre of this drink over the course of a week (equating to half a 2 litre bottle), this amounts to 312 fewer teaspoons of sugar each year, equivalent to 6,146 kcals.

Our sugar reduction work extends beyond juice drinks. In just over a year we have removed a 2,459 tonnes of sugar per annum from our own-brand soft drinks ranges, including popular products such as our own-brand cola and lemonade and high juice squash drinks.

In relation to our work, Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of Action on Sugar, said: "We welcome the fact that Sainsbury's is reducing the amount of sugars in their sugar sweetened soft drinks. We wish to see an overall reduction in the sweetness in both the sugar sweetened and the artificially sweetened drinks”.

What's next?

We’re always looking for ways to evolve our products to meet the needs of our customers and support healthier lifestyles. Sugar is high on the agenda at the moment and we plan further sugar reduction work across our own-brand range, with Taste the Difference Yoghurts and oriental ready meals both examples of products that will soon benefit from reduced sugar content.