Are we to blame for what we eat or can we direct blame to the food manufacturers that have recently been targeted for calls to have government-regulated sugar reduction targets.
With the NHS projecting an annual spend on diabetes alone to rise from 9.8bn to 16.9bn over the next 25 years there seems to be a definite need to examine the options.
Some would argue that similar to the reduction and monitoring of salt content in products over recent years, there needs to be a ‘reformation to take sugar out of foods’.
So far the industry has broadly avoided extra regulation and tax through voluntary deals. But the growing body of research on sugar could push governments facing escalating healthcare costs to use taxes or step up regulation to force through changes in eating habits.
Such moves are not necessary, according to the industry, which says that it has been reducing fats, sugar and salt from its products. Leading retailers are starting to reduce sugar content in an effort to ward off further regulation.
Tesco has committed to reducing the sugar in its own-label soft drinks by 5 per cent a year, following similar steps by other retailers including Sainsbury’s, the Co-Op and Asda.
But what about us as consumers? Should we not instead be accountable and responsible for what we eat and drink? With obesity being called the ‘new smoking’ and with one in three teenagers consuming high sugar energy drinks, The UK is now the biggest consumer of sugary drinks in Europe.
Sugar is not inherently bad for you, it’s the amount and how frequently you eat it that matters. Working out how much sugar is in your food or drink can be confusing so is it really a reduction in sugar that is required, or just simply clearer information of what is in our products?
Consumer behaviour affects sales –With comments being made towards taxing companies that sell ‘unhealthy food’ the food and beverage industry need to react in a positive collaborative way while thinking about the impending Nutritional legislation as part of the FIR.
So who can we really blame for ‘poisoning’ the public?