With an estimated 1.7 billion cups of coffee sold each year in the UK from over 18,000 outlets and one in five of the population (including teenagers) visiting a coffee shop daily, campaign group Action on Sugar is today warning of the dangerously high sugar content of certain hot beverages found in many high street coffee shop chains.
This new research by Action on Sugar shows that 98% of the 131 hot flavoured drinks analysed would receive a ‘red’ (high) label for excessive levels of sugars per serving as sold.
What’s more, 35% of the hot flavoured drinks contain the same amount or more sugars than Coca Cola, which contains a massive 9 teaspoons of sugar per can – equivalent to 7 chocolate biscuits.
The worst offender is the Starbuck’s Hot Mulled Fruit - Grape with Chai, Orange and Cinnamon Venti (extra-large) – a mix of chai and fruit concentrate, topped with a cinnamon stick and a slice of orange – which contains 25 teaspoons of sugar (that’s the equivalent of sugar in 5 muffins), followed by Costa Coffee’s Chai Latte (large) with a massive 20 teaspoons of sugar.
Worryingly, from the entire out-of-home hot drinks surveyed, 55% contain the equivalent, or more than, the maximum daily recommended amount of sugars for an adult and teenager (30g – 7tsp/d).
Nicola Close, Chief Executive of the Association of Directors of Public Health says, “These results highlight the need for more transparency on sugar content and compulsory labelling of sugar content. Drinkers deserve to know how much sugar they are consuming.”
The release of the report comes amidst mounting pressure on the government to force food and drink firms to reduce the sugar content or portion sizes of their products in an effort to tackle obesity, particularly in children.
A Starbucks spokesperson responded to the report saying, “Earlier this year we committed to reduce added sugar in our indulgent drinks by 25% by the end of 2020. We also offer a wide variety of lighter options, sugar-free syrups and sugar-free natural sweetener and we display all nutritional information in-store and online."