Reducing sugar

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We all know that too much sugar is bad for our health and can cause weight gain and damage teeth. Here we share tips on how to cut down your sugar intake and how we are continuing to reduce sugar in Co-op products.

Less sugar, same great taste

We know that reducing sugar is a big concern for many people when thinking about their health, so we have continued to reduce sugar across our Co-op products.

Last year alone we removed 74 million teaspoons of sugar from categories such as breakfast cereals, cakes, desserts, ice-cream, milk based drinks and yogurts. This brings our total sugar reduction figure up to 656 million teaspoons of sugar since 2014.

Here’s some of our biggest sugar reduction achievements last year:

  • Breakfast cereals; Co-op golden nut cornflakes were reduced in sugar by nearly another 8% and Co-op cornflakes by another 7.5%. This means that since 2015, our Co-op golden nut cornflakes have been reduced in sugar by 23% and our Co-op cornflakes have been reduced in sugar by over 31%
  • Cakes; We’ve removed another 22 million teaspoons of sugar from products such as our Co-op caterpillar cake
  • Confectionary; Our Co-op Jelly Babies now contain 15% less sugar, Co-op Strawberry Bon Bons contain 8% less sugar and Co-op Wine Gums contains 7% less sugar
  • Desserts; We reduced sugar in our Co-op tiramisu (500g) by 16.5%, Co-op Irresistible sticky toffee pudding by 8% and Co-op rice pudding by nearly 32%
  • Ice-cream; We’ve removed nearly 24% of the sugar in our Co-op creamy vanilla ice-cream (450g)
  • Milk based drinks; We reduced the sugar in our Co-op chocolate flavoured milk by another 6%. We started reducing sugar in our flavoured milks in 2015 so this means that over the past few years we have reduced the sugar in our Co-op chocolate flavoured milk by 30%

Sugar in your diet

Fruit and veg contain naturally occurring sugars but also provide you with minerals and vitamins to help you stay healthy.

Fruit juice can be acidic so drinking too much of it can cause damage to your teeth. Remember that 150ml is a portion, but you could always try to dilute it with some water to reduce the amount of sugar you’re consuming.

Sugar is also commonly found in products like chocolate, cake and desserts. These are fine to eat in moderation but check out our labels for advice on portion size.

Here’s some tips to help you reduce sugar in your diet:

  • Try switching to lower sugar breakfast cereals such as porridge or wheat biscuits
  • Top your cereal with fruit instead of a sprinkle of sugar
  • There’s so many different toppings you can use on porridge instead of adding honey such as berries, grated apple, prunes
  • Use sweetener instead of sugar in hot drinks. Or you could try gradually easing yourself off sugar in your hot drinks by reducing the amount of sugar you add until you get used to the taste of not having it in your tea/coffee
  • Limit fruit juice to a 150ml portion
  • Limit the amount of treats you have. Try cutting smaller slices of cake or only have 1 biscuit instead of 2
  • Healthier snacking alternatives include things like unsalted nuts, rice cakes, oat cakes, plain popcorn
  • Dark chocolate generally contains less sugar than milk chocolate
  • Try having yogurt and fresh fruit as a dessert
  • Choose tinned fruit in natural juices over fruit in syrup
  • If you’re making a crumble, think if you actually need to add sugar to the fruit
  • Look out for no added sugar or reduce sugar versions of products that you normally buy
  • When baking, try to use fruit for sweetness where possible instead of sugar
  • Swap fizzy sugary drinks for no added sugar and sugar free drinks or water instead. You could try flavouring water with some lemon, lime or mint
  • Why not make your own pasta sauces using tinned tomatoes to avoid cooking sauces which can have added sugar
  • Check the labels to compare the sugar levels between different products or look out for products with a green traffic light in sugar as this means they’re low in sugar. Check out our website for more guidance on how to use food labelling