FDF members are working towards government’s voluntary sugar reduction guidelines. Great progress has been made in certain categories such as breakfast cereals, yogurts and soft drinks. Compared to 5 years ago, FDF member products provide 12% less sugars into the average shopping basket [1]

However, we do not believe the government’s aim of a 20% reduction across multiple food categories over 3 years 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 (2017 – 2021)

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.
  • OHID to publish voluntary baby food guidelines.
  • Review of soft drinks industry levy to decide if it should be extended to milk-based drinks.


OHID update on Reformulation Programmes

Following the move to the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), the team are continuing current workstreams including the reformulation programmes and supporting DHSC with technical input for the advertising and promotions policies.

The final monitoring report for the sugars reduction programme has been delayed till early 2022, and they are considering their proposed next steps. FDF has recently fed into the OHID  with learnings from the programmes and recommendations for next steps.

The OHID will publish final guidalines for baby food at the start of 2022. The first progress reports for the 2024 calories and salt guidelines will be published towards the end of 2022. In terms of longer term strategy, the OHID are considering their strategic aims for the future and working closely with the Food Strategy team.

UK chosen to lead new Sugar and Calorie Reduction Network

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has chosen the UK to lead a new Sugar and Calorie Reduction network to take global action on sugar and calorie reduction. The Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Chris Whitty, announced the formation of the network. The UK has seen good progress in sugar reduction and will be using its world-leading expertise in domestic sugar and calorie reduction to support European countries.

The new network’s member states will share learning and technical expertise to encourage manufacturers to reformulate products, reducing the amount of sugar and calories in food and drink. The WHO Sugar and Calorie Reduction Network will launch in spring 2022. Find out more

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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