Major Australian beverage brands make further sugar reduction pledges

The Australian beverage industry pledged to reduce the sugar content within non-alcoholic beverage portfolios back in 2018, an initiative led by the Australian Beverages Council Ltd (ABCL).

The target commitment set back then was a reduction of 20% between 2015 to 2025 – but some of the biggest firms in the industry have now decided to upgrade this by a further 5% to a 25% reduction in sugar by 2025, which would demonstrate the efficacy of these industry-led initiative.

“Our Sugar Reduction Pledge signatories are accelerating their sugar reduction target not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because they’re ahead on their current sugar reduction targets,”​ ABCL Chief Executive Officer Geoff Parker told FoodNavigator-Asia​ on behalf of the beverage industry.

“Companies have responded to Australian consumers’ demands for less sugar in their drinks and more beverage options [to be made available]and this sugar reduction is being driven by a range of initiatives including reformulation, smaller pack sizes, and pledgees investing in more low and no sugar products to meet growing consumer demand.​ ​

“[This shows that there is no need for] discriminatory and regressive taxes, which are a last century fix to a complex and contemporary problem which will only raise the cost of the weekly shop for households that can least afford it.”​ ​

The major beverage MNCs that have agreed to upgrade their targets are Asahi, Coca-Cola South Pacific, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners and PepsiCo across both Australia and New Zealand. Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (formerly Amatil) and Asahi alone make up some 55.2% of the local soft drink industry, so all together these firms make up very significant market share.