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The Sugar Tax means big changes to popular brands


The Soft Drinks Industry Levy (aka Sugar Tax) is coming into force in April 2018, yes literally next week! It’s being introduced to help consumers make healthier choices and will mean drinks manufacturers will need to pay a levy of 18p – 24p dependent on sugar content.


In turn, this will increase the price of sugar-filled drinks in shops, so a lot of recipes are being tweaked and changed by the top dogs to get sugar levels below the threshold of 5g of sugar per 100ml. As you can imagine, we’re all for brands reducing sugar content in their products, so we’ve had a look at who’s made what changes ahead of the tax.


Irn Bru

You’ve probably seen all of the backlash for this one already, but Irn Bru have slashed sugar completely and completely stopped making their full-sugar version. Instead they have updated the recipe to bring sugar levels down from 10.3g per 100ml to just 4.7g. People (particularly those from Scotland) feel so strongly about this one that an online petition against the change got over 55,000 signatures!


Red Bull

Red Bull has launched its biggest campaign yet for sugar free, by expanding its entire range of energy drinks to include a sugar free alternative. Their first sugar free can was introduced way back in 2001, but now fans of Red Bull Editions flavours, Tropical and Orange can get a zero sugar version too – options for all!



This is a sneaky one because Coke have taken a totally different approach to the sugar tax. They won’t be reducing sugar content at all but instead selling smaller bottles at a higher price, hmm. After seeing the increasing backlash to other brands reducing sugar, it’s likely they’ve chosen this route in favour of altering their famously sugar-packed secret recipe. We’re not too sure that asking customers to pay more for less is the way to avoid backlash though!


Tango Ice Blast

People are NOT happy about this 😂 Cinema goers looking to grab a frozen treat will be getting the guilt-free version from now on, as Slush Puppy rolls zero sugar ice blasts out to cinemas across the UK and announces all core flavours and limited editions going forward will be no sugar.


Although the levy is for the soft drinks industry, it looks like it’s got other food brands thinking about sugar content as we’ve seen the likes of Kellogg’s cut the amount of sugar in its three top selling children's cereals by between 20% and 40%, great news for health-conscious parents. Nestle have been ahead of the game for a while too, cutting a whopping 2.6billion teaspoons of sugar from their products in just three years, and have recently launched new Milkybar Wowsomes containing 30% less sugar. 

We seem to be heading into a reduced sugar era, and we’re certainly on board with that! Have you noticed any sugar reductions in your favourite food and drink? Let us know on Twitter!




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