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News & views

‘Healthy’ Nestlé laces drinks with twice the sugar of Coke

[6 Sept 2013] Cans boast of fruit juice and relegate high sugar content to the small print, reports Ivor Robinson

NestleCanIf you’re a multinational company whose website is full of uplifting stuff about ‘wellness’ and good nutrition, why would you be happy to sell millions of cans of premium-priced lemonade that contain twice as much sugar as Coke? 

That’s what the Swiss-based giant Nestlé does. An obesity and diabetes epidemic might be raging, but Nestlé – involved, as its website proudly proclaims, in anti-obesity campaigns – ladles EIGHTEEN teaspoons of sugar into every little can of San Pellegrino Limonata and San Pellegrino Aranciata, which it exports to the UK and the rest of Europe from factories in Milan. 

The cans, which sell for about 65p, lure customers with pictures of succulent oranges and lemons above large bold type stating the fruit-juice content – 18% for Aranciata, 16% for Limonata. But in smudgier small print the nutritional details show there’s 32g of sugar in Aranciata and 33g in Limonata. In each case, this is more than a third of an adult’s ‘guideline daily amount’. These quantities mean there’s an amazing 18 teaspoons of sugar in every can, at 1.8g per spoonful. Coca-Cola, much criticized for its persistent sugar-pushing, puts ‘only’ nine teaspoons in a can of ordinary Coke. (Coke source: The Guardian – click here.)

Nestlé told me: ‘The Sanpellgrino [sic] Company is now working to further reduce sugar [in Aranciata and Limonata] by 10%, a process that will take 2-3 years to be completed.’ 

In other words, it will take three years to cut 18 teaspoons of sugar to about 16 – so three years to achieve virtually nothing. [cont]

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