Prince Charles has been asked by child obesity campaigners to urge his flagship brand Duchy Organic to cut the level of sugar in its dairy ice cream marketed through Waitrose. An investigation throughout August and September covering all the major supermarket outlets found that the Duchy Organic Vanilla Ice Cream contained 14.5g per 100g of sugar, whereas Asda’s “Smart Price” vanilla ice cream contained only 7.9g per 100g.
Tam Fry a spokesman for the National Obesity Forum and an expert advisory team member of Action for Sugar commenting on George Osborne’s sugar tax on soft drinks said, “At a stroke, he concentrated the mind of sugar-happy soft drink manufacturers seriously to consider reformulating their products to an acceptable level. As Action on Sugar’s research shows, many food manufacturers got the message, too. All, and Prince Charles in particular, should now follow their lead. The added bonus is that they will have dramatically aided the health of millions of people, let alone the NHS”.
Waitrose did comment that this product was more of an indulgence and not aimed at children, all their product ranges show the sugar content and customers could choose if they wished a healthier option. They added, “Reducing sugar is a top priority and we have an extensive reformulation programme to achieve this, which has already included significantly reducing sugar in chilled juices, cereals, yoghurts, soups, cordials and fizzy drinks.”
However, there are a lot of concerns on several fronts whether it is childhood obesity or a dramatic increase in the cases of Type 2 diabetes in adults with the long-term medical concerns and costs that it will bring. The food and drink industry clearly have a dilemma at the moment, balancing the demands of the consumer with the public relations aspect of pressure group concerns. They are also needing to control costs with narrowing profit margins due to various issues when they also need to invest in research and development to come up with lower sugar products that will still appeal to customers.
It is an area to watch now, and it would be a considerable coup for Prince Charles and Duchy Organic if they could lead the charge in low-sugar products that also appealed to the taste buds of consumers.