Has Germany’s plan for reducing sugar in soft drinks failed?

Soft drinks are considered as drivers for obesity and Type 2 diabetes, but little progress is being made in reducing sugar in soft drinks. From 2015 to 2021, their sugar content fell by just 2%, according to a study by the German Alliance of Non-Communicable Diseases (DANK) in collaboration with scientists from the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich and the Technical University of Munich.

The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s (BMEL) national reduction strategy stipulates that the sugar content of soft drinks should decrease voluntarily by 15% from 2015 to 2025. However, the study results show that manufacturers are still falling significantly short of this target. According to the study, in 2015 the average sugar content of soft drinks in Germany was 5.3g per 100mL. In 2021, it was 5.2g per 100mL. In the same period in the United Kingdom, the sugar content fell from 5.3g per 100mL to 3.8g per 100mL.

In 2018, the UK introduced an industry levy on soft drinks to encourage the manufacturers to reduce sugar, while the national reduction strategy introduced in Germany in 2018 is exclusively voluntary.

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