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

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

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 (UNESDA) 10% sugar reduction commitment.

The initiative responds to changing consumer preferences regarding sugar intake and the calls from EU member state 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 well-known brands such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Kinnie – will take the following actions:

  • Reformulate existing products including the use of low calorie sweeteners
  • 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
  • Monitor the progress of added sugar reduction achieved using independent external research and to share this with stakeholders.

President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Anton Borg, welcomed 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.”

Maria Micallef, COO of Coca-Cola’s bottling partner GSD Marketing, said consumers were 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, CEO of PepsiCo’s bottlers Simonds Farsons Cisk, said the industry comes well-prepared to endorse this pledge. “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.”

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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