Whitbread-owned coffee shop brand Costa is to reduce added sugar by 25% across its beverage portfolio by 2020.
The announcement comes as the company launches its new summer drinks menu, and follows criticism of the brand, along with Starbucks and others, by campaign group Action on Sugar for the sometimes large amounts of sugar that go into its drinks.
Action on Sugar found that 98% of the 131 hot flavoured drinks in the big high street chains would carry a "red" warning for excessive sugar content if the companies were forced to label them.
Among the drinks it highlighted was Costa's largest chai latte, which was found to contain 20 teaspoons of sugar.
Now Costa has unveiled "significant changes" to its summer drinks menu, launching this week, including the nationwide rollout of no added sugar SuperDay Smoothies, which it said would constitute one of the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Jane Treasure, head of food and beverage development at Costa, said: "Costa always puts customers at the heart of everything we do. We're committed to providing great tasting healthy choices and have a long-term plan to improve the nutritional balance of our menu".
She added: "We already have a number of products tailored to a range of nutritional and dietary needs and have proactively removed a substantial amount of sugar across our beverage portfolio. Our commitment to reduce added sugar is part of a strategy to manage our entire portfolio responsibly to ensure that we provide a nutritionally balanced mix of menu items for our customers".
To support it in meeting its target, Costa said it had worked with an "independent, external expert" and created a nutritional calculator, which allows the brand to assess its food and beverage products. Using this methodology, Costa said it would review each product recipe, against a set predetermined criteria to determine whether to delist, reformulate or provide an alternative choice for customers.
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