Reducing sugar

Reduced sugar intakes are recommended by health authorities for many people.

Offering people a choice

There is increasing concern that consuming too much sugar can lead to a higher energy intake than we need, which can be a contributory factor in people becoming overweight or obese.

We recognise that energy intake from sugar should be limited, in line with recommendations by a number of organisations, such as the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association.

We use sugar responsibly, while delivering great-tasting and appealing products. We are reducing sugar in our existing products such as Lipton and Brisk ice teas. We are also developing new, lower-sugar drinks using non-nutritive sweeteners like Stevia (steviol glycosides). This is an ingredient derived from the leaf of the Stevia rebaudiana plant and helps to maintain the level of sweetness that people expect.

Lower sugar products that people still enjoy

“Reducing sugar has its technical challenges and we have been successful in developing products with reduced sugar which people still enjoy,” explains Els de Groene, Nutrition Director for Beverages and Ice Cream at Unilever.

Non-nutritive sweeteners can play a useful role in replacing sugar in the diet. However, there is still some confusion about their benefits. A recent publication in the International Journal of Obesity extensively reviewed all research conducted to date on the subject. It concluded that evidence shows that non-nutritive sweeteners are effective in reducing energy intakes and have a beneficial effect on weight control.

Great-tasting teas with less sugar

Our Lipton, Brisk and Pure Leaf brands are making good progress in many countries in reducing sugar content. We do this both for existing products and when launching new lower-sugar varieties. For example, by the end of 2015 we achieved or exceeded a 25% sugar reduction in Australia, Italy and the UK, based on total volumes.

In 2015, we launched new, lower-sugar products such as Lipton Sparkling Iced Tea, with 12g sugar per 8 fl oz in the US. In Canada, we introduced our Pure Leaf range made with real brewed tea, including Unsweet and Not Too Sweet variants (0 and 10g sugar per 8 fl oz, respectively).

In selected countries in Europe, we continued to roll out Lipton Ice Tea Black with 30% less sugar using Stevia.1 In the Netherlands, we launched Pure Leaf and relaunched Brisk, both low-calorie products with 4.5g sugar per 100ml, and sweetened with Stevia.1 We also reduced sugar by 30% in our Lipton Ice Tea Black Peach and Green Citrus in Mexico, and in our Mango Exotic variant in Lebanon and Korea, using Stevia.1

These are just some of many examples of how we are working to lower sugar intakes. You can find more examples in the interactive module within Our strategy for Improving Nutrition. We will continue to lower sugar while enjoying great taste to encourage people to select these variants over higher-sugar products.

1 Steviol glycosides.

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