FDF members are working towards government’s voluntary sugar reduction guidelines of 20% by 2020. Great progress has been made, particularly in soft drinks. Compared to 4 years ago, FDF member products provide 11% less sugars into the average shopping basket [1].

Despite this, we do not believe the government’s aim of a 20% reduction across multiple food categories by 2020 is feasible. Reformulation takes time. The work is particularly challenging in foods where sugars play many roles beyond adding sweetness, for example they can prolong shelf-life, help cakes to rise, and change how ice crystals form in ice-cream. Where technical challenges or consumer acceptance limit progress, members are creating smaller portions and encouraging consumers to switch to lower-sugars alternatives, where possible.

To help companies, FDF has produced reformulation guidance, a list of sugars replacers and guidance if companies want to claim reduced sugar on pack.

[1] Kantar Worldpanel data for FDF members (2015 – 2019)

Future Milestones


  • Year 4 (2020 data) final monitoring report - formal assessment of achievement to 20% target. Will include PHE’s recommendations to Government on next steps to reduce sugars intakes. Government said they may consider fiscal measures if insufficient progress has been made.
  • Review of soft drinks industry levy to decide if it should be extended to milk-based drinks.

Revised year 3 PHE sugar reduction report

Diet and health

PHE has recently published a revision to the Year 3 progress report for the sugar reduction programme, which was originally published in October 2020.  Since this publication, an error has been noted with some of the data for McDonald’s drinks, and this has resulted in slight differences to the previously reported results in out of home milkshakes, cup hot/cold drinks and blended juices. The revised Year 3 progress report can be observed through clicking the following link.

Reducing Sugar in the Diet

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How we can help your business

Guidance: Reformulation guide - Spotlight on sugars

31 July 2016

This guidance sets out regulatory considerations for sugars reduction, outlines available sugar replacers and factors affecting consumer acceptance of sugar replacers.

Read more