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Public health watchdog to focus on hospitality in sugar reduction programme

20 September 2019 by
Public health watchdog to focus on hospitality in sugar reduction programme

Public health watchdog Public Health England is set to turn its focus to the hospitality sector in the next phase of its sugar reduction programme, as it revealed the progress it has made so far in its bid to reduce sugars in food by 20% by 2020.

The average sugar content (based on a simple average per 100g) of products purchased in the out of home sector fell by 4.9% in 2018 as compared to the baseline year of 2017, according to a new report by Public Health England.

The body defines "out of home" as quick service restaurants, casual dining restaurants, contract caterers, cafes and coffee shops, sandwich and bakery-led shops, pubs, retail food on the go, takeaway and delivery services.

However, the figures for the out of home sector are based on more limited data and less comprehensive nutritional information than that for retailers and manufacturers. The findings also showed that the average calorie content of products likely to be eaten by an individual on a single occasion in the out of home sector actually increased by 1.8% in 2018 as compared to 2017 (whereas it was unchanged in home).

Meanwhile, following the introduction in April 2018 of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) - otherwise known as the sugar tax - for drinks consumed out of home, there was a reduction of 27.2% in the simple average total sugar per 100ml, and a reduction of 22.2% in calories for drinks likely to be consumed on a single occasion.

Public Health England said work has now begun on its next phase of engagement with specific parts of the out of home sector and will be focused towards travel and leisure businesses.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, said: "We are seeing some encouraging progress from the food industry. Our second year report shows some food categories reducing sugar faster than others but this is realistic at this early stage.

"We are confident that the industry as a whole understands their responsibility to step up and deliver for children and their families."

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