Less sugar, fewer calories
We are finding new ways to lower sugar and calories in our foods and drinks.
A global problem
Today, more than 1.9 billion adults are overweight – that’s 39% of the world’s population – with 40 million children classified as obese. Being overweight and obese affects 2.1 billion people, putting them at increased risk of diet-related non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Health authorities like the World Health Organization recommend that people should reduce their sugar intake. We have been playing our part for more than a decade, focusing on our ready-to-drink tea, powdered ice tea, milk tea products and ice cream portfolio.
How do you drink yours?
Every year, people drink 170 billion cups of our top-selling teas like Lipton, Brooke Bond, PG Tips and Pure Leaf. In 2017, we added Pukka herbal teas to our portfolio – including natural, organic, and health and wellness variants.
Tea is often used to unwind from our hectic lifestyles. As an alternative to water, health authorities recommend drinking unsweetened tea for good hydration, which is essential for wellbeing.
The challenge is that most people don’t drink their tea unsweetened, and the Global Nutrition Report 2017 (PDF | 5MB) explicitly states that sugary drinks are associated with weight gain.
We run various campaigns to convert people to drink unsweetened leaf tea. In India, we communicated face-to-face with consumers about the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle, and measured people’s body fat. Data has shown that high doses of catechins in green tea may help reduce waist circumference and body mass index (BMI). As a result, one in every four consumers purchased Lipton Green tea.
In the United Arab Emirates, our ‘30 Days to a lighter you’ campaign encouraged healthy living in three steps: replacing sugary drinks for Lipton Green Tea, eating lots of fruit and vegetables and exercising for at least 30 minutes per day. The campaign reached 12 million people via digital channels.
Balancing the sugar scale
By 2020, we will have removed 25% of sugar from our ready-to-drink tea, powdered ice tea and milk tea products. To meet these stretching targets, we have developed more drinks that meet our Highest Nutritional Standards (HNS) of 5g or less sugar per 100ml. In the US, for example, we reduced sugar in Lipton Sweet Tea by 50% and in Brisk Strawberry Melon by 40%. We introduced Brisk Watermelon Lemonade and Strawberry Melon Fountain, which meet our HNS. Under the Pure Leaf brand, we rolled-out our sophisticated Tea House Collection, which also meets our HNS.
Across Europe, we reduced sugar by 30% in Lipton Lemon, Peach and Green Grapefruit sold in McDonald’s. In several European markets, we introduced 30% lower sugar, low calorie and Lipton iced teas with 4.5 g of sugar/100ml. We offer Pure Leaf with less sweetness at 3.0 g of sugar/100ml in several countries, and in Taiwan, we reduced sugar in several milk tea products by approximately 15%.
We offer people choice by using non-nutritive sweeteners like Stevia1 in some products. The International Journal of Obesity says that these are effective in reducing energy intakes, and have a beneficial effect on weight control. We use honey as a sweetener, for example in our Lipton Chilled with Honey in the US. We are collaborating with universities to gain a deeper understanding of consumers’ preferences, for different levels of sweetness, in products containing reduced sugar or non-nutritive sweeteners. This will help us go further in the future, while making sure our products still taste great.
In 2017, we also introduced options with no added sugar. For example, in Brazil we sell Lipton Green Zero with no sugar and in Ecuador, we offer Brisk Zero with no sugar. In Australia, we introduced two new Lipton Diet variants and three flavours of Lipton Infused Water with no sugar.
Reducing sugar across our portfolio
As well as reducing sugar in teas, we are lowering it across our other products. In 2017, for example, we introduced Bango Light in Asia with 34% less sugar. Our Hellmann’s ketchup sweetened only with honey instead of white sugar is sold in the UK, France, Greece, Germany, Spain and Brazil. Our Hellmann’s ketchups with Stevia – available in various European countries like France, Greece, Poland and Germany – has up to 45% less sugar and meets our HNS.
We are reducing sugar in our breakfast cereals in Israel. Our commitment is that these will not contain more than 1.5 teaspoons of sugar, and by spring 20182 this will be displayed on the front of our cereal boxes. We have already improved our recipes so that they are now all compliant with our HNS.
Most of the sugar in our foods occurs naturally in small quantities from vegetable ingredients like tomatoes and carrots. Therefore, to have the biggest impact on public health, the focus remains on lowering salt in our Foods portfolio.
Counting the calories
On a hot sunny day, there is nothing quite like a refreshing ice cream. Ice cream is also a pleasurable dessert all year round. Treats contribute to wellbeing and pleasure in life, but they can add up in terms of calories consumed. As the world’s leading ice cream company – selling much-loved brands like Wall’s, Magnum, Cornetto, Ben & Jerry’s, Max, Paddle Pop and Popsicle – we know how important it is to lower calories without sacrificing taste.
In 2014, we achieved our target for all our children’s ice creams to contain 110 kilocalories (kcals) or less per serving. We applied our learnings to all our packaged ice cream portfolio, and in 2015 met our target to ensure that at least 80% of our packaged ice creams do not exceed 250 kcals per portion.3 In 2017, 90% of our packaged ice creams did not exceed 250 kcals per portion.
In China, for example, two new Wall’s ice creams are compliant with our HNS and contain 50% more fruit juice content (reconstituted). In Mexico, we brought back our classic 'Raspatito' and in Thailand, we introduced three new variants of Paddle Pop ice creams that all meet our HNS. We also sell mini versions of our much-loved ice cream brands. In Brazil, for example, we offer three new Cornetto options with reduced portion sizes and calories, and in India, we introduced a 36g Magnum.
Our research shows that even with treats, people look for natural ingredients such as fruit. In 2017, we acquired the Australian ice cream brand, Weis, whose fruit-containing products have a minimum of 25% fruit. In Brazil, we launched new mango and strawberry Fruttare sorbet, with higher fruit content (as pulp and pieces), meeting our HNS.
We offer products containing milk, which are rich in calcium, such as Mini Milk and Paddle Pop Yogurt. In 2017, in India, we ran a campaign to raise awareness of the milk content in our Kwality Wall’s ice creams. And in response to consumer interest for added protein in ice cream, we launched Breyers® Delights in the US – four flavours of low-fat ice cream that provide a good source of protein and calcium per serving. We are now looking to launch this in other markets.
1 Steviol glycosides.
2 Not including Kariot existing variants. Kariot sugar reduced was launched in January 2018.
3 A portion refers to a pre-packed single-serve ice cream product meant to be consumed in one go. It also refers to 100ml when ice cream is sold in larger packaging such as tubs.