That’s according to some FoodManufacture.co.uk readers, who have lambasted Action on Sugar’s (AoS’s) call today for industry to have government-regulated sugar reduction targets.
AoS’s call followed Tesco’s pledge earlier this week to reduce the amount of added sugar in its own-label soft drinks by 5% incrementally every year.
But readers disagreed that removing sugar from products was the right solution to combating obesity and diabetes. “Come on people, face up to some personal accountability for what you feed yourself and let’s not let others take control (whether retailers or government) on our behalf,” one reader stated.
“Clearly, the consumer choice is for sugar, as is shown in the differences in sales volumes between sugared and artificially sweetened drinks/ products.
“This is more a case of education and information than ‘nanny state’ sugar taxes, or imposed retailer conditions,” he added.
By removing more added sugar from products, consumers were being denied a choice, claimed another reader.
“[They] should not be removing our choices, all we need is clear information of what is in products … stop messing with products and make contents information clearer,” he added.
Others were frustrated by the amount of artificially sweetened products on supermarket shelves already. They urged manufacturers not to reformulate products to contain artificial sweeteners.
“I find it very frustrating that, in some food categories, such as yogurts, it is getting very difficult to find full sugar variants, rather than the insipid, grainy, unpleasant ‘healthy’ alternatives,” said a third reader.
Sugary products were not harmful if they were consumed as a treat and as part of a healthy, balanced and active lifestyle, she added.
‘Sugar is a killer’
Just one reader, Kevin Baker, agreed with AoS and said: “[It] can only be good, as sugar is a killer.”
AoS chairman Professor Graham MacGregor said the UK government could no longer ignore the problems added sugar in food and drinks was causing.
For instance, the National Health Service’s annual spend on diabetes alone in the UK was projected to rise from £9.8bn to £16.9bn over the next 25 years, he said.
“Incremental, unobtrusive reformulation is the key way of reducing calories across all sweetened drinks,” he added.
“Merely having the option of ‘diet’ or ‘no sugar’ products does not work, particularly for the most socially deprived.”
Meanwhile, many took to Twitter to express their opinions about Tesco’s decision to slash added sugars in its own-label soft-drinks. Read our selection of the top tweets below.