Health chiefs in Wolverhampton have welcomed the news that a supermarket giant is withdrawing sugary drinks aimed at children from sale amid concerns over childhood obesity.

Tesco has announced that from September it will stop selling pouches and cartons of high sugar Ribena, Capri-Sun and Rubicon, drinks that have been popular with parents and often marketed as ideal for school lunchboxes. It will continue to stock no added sugar varieties.

Figures show one 330ml pouch of Capri-Sun orange juice drink contains 33g of sugar, nearly double the daily amount recommended by the NHS for 4 to 6 year olds of 19g a day, and far above the 24g limit for 7 to 10 year olds. By contrast, Capri-Sun's no added sugar 200ml version contains only 1.6g of sugar.

Councillor Sandra Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "We have fundamental concerns about childhood obesity in Wolverhampton, with more than a quarter of our 10 year olds classed as obese, compared to just under a fifth nationally.

"Having high sugar levels in their diet is a major cause of this; this also a huge impact on dental health too.

"The council is delighted and encouraged that the country's biggest supermarket chain is taking a stance and removing from sale high sugar level drinks aimed at children and parents.

"We hope other national chains and local retailers in Wolverhampton are able to follow Tesco's lead. It's also extremely important that consumers support this change by demanding low sugar alternatives from retailers and manufacturers."

Kawther Hashem, nutritionist and researcher for the Action on Sugar group, said: "This is great news from Tesco; it shows they are taking the issue of sugar in soft drinks seriously.

"These processed drinks are laden with sugar and calories and do not have the nutritional benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables."

A Tesco spokesperson said: "We want to help our customers make healthier choices and that's why we have pledged to continue to cut sugar from the food and drink on our shelves. From September all the children's juice drinks we sell will have no added sugar in them because we know it'll make a positive difference to children's health."

Councillor Samuels and the council's Public Health team put out a Call to Action on obesity last year, and are working with health professionals, businesses, schools and faith and community groups to address the problem in Wolverhampton. Businesses or community groups interested in joining the Call to Action are asked to contact Richard Welch, head of the council's Healthier Place Service, on 01902 552162.

  • released: Monday 3 August, 2015