Tesco: we will push brands into cutting sugar

Tesco has said it will continue to "push" suppliers into stripping sugar from products and hinted that confectionery or fruit juice might be among the categories it looks to next.

Tesco: could fruit juice or confectionery be the next category in the sugar-reduction firing line?
Tesco: could fruit juice or confectionery be the next category in the sugar-reduction firing line?

Speaking at the Westminster Forum 'policy on high fat, sugar and salt foods' seminar yesterday, Tim Smith, Tesco quality director, said the retailer's push to encourage suppliers to reduce sugar was just getting started.

He said Tesco's push to strip out sugar from its soft drinks range, which culminated in some "lunchbox" brands including Ribena and Rubicon being delisted in July, would continue.

Smith told Marketing the retailer had first turned its attention to soft drinks because "they happen to have found solutions that customers find not only acceptable but often preferable to the version they are replacing", such as diet colas. 

But he warned he would also "push with equal weight onto our supply base" and confirmed Tesco was already conducting a review of another category - though he declined to reveal which. 

However, he did say the Public Health England sugar report, which shows that while children get their highest intake of sugar from soft drinks, confectionery and fruit juice are also high contributors, is a "clear" indicator of where the business will look next. 

"The challenge for us now is we need to apply exactly the same discipline and pressure on those manufacturers that we know will find it a bit more difficult - where indulgence might actually be an overriding factor," he added.