Customers triggered early sugar reformulation programme at Tesco

Philip Banks

Category Buying Manager: Soft Drinks, Juice & Water
Welwyn Garden City

2 Jun 2017

How we have reduced sugar content in our own label products.

Thanks to customer feedback we had already embarked on our reformulation programme in 2011. In 2016 we were the first supermarket to have all our drinks below the UK Government’s sugar levy of 5g sugar per 100ml. Increased concerns over sugar intake have seen the health issue gain political momentum.

Customer feedback

Customers had been telling us they wanted less sugar in their drinks but they didn’t want to lose sacrifice taste. So as we embarked on our reformulation programme, we had great taste at the top of our thoughts. The reformulation programme was a huge challenge for our suppliers. We were clear from the start that we wanted the products to taste as good as before but have far less sugar.

We also listened to customers to understand how they wanted us to sweeten the drinks. The main sweeteners used when substituting sugar in our products are Acesulfame K and Sucralose. We avoid the use of Aspartame and also removed it from all our own brand soft drinks. In total we removed 712 million teaspoons of sugar from our drinks.

Products better than before

All our product reformulations were tested against the previous ‘full sugar’ recipe with a minimum of 120 customers. We kept reformulating until we got to a reduced sugar recipe that our customers told us was as good as or better than the previous. We have launched the last of our 251 reformulated drinks. It was a mammoth effort from all our suppliers and teams.

I am so proud of the work the teams have done. We continue to challenge ourselves, listening to feedback and finding ways to provide drinks which our customers can enjoy. We continue to work with our branded suppliers to encourage them to follow our lead. I’m delighted that many have already said they’ll follow our lead and reduce sugar in their soft drinks.

Giving customers choice

Our customers want choice and balance in what they eat and we want to offer that. I love eating Tesco food because I know it will always taste great and will not be overloaded with fat, salt and sugar.

Tesco is committed to making it easier and cheaper for customers to make healthier choices. To eat well and eat fresh. To learn more about how Tesco is creating Little Helps to Healthier Living go to: 

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