News, Culture & Society

The end of the sweetie shop? Sweets could be forced off the shelves under Government plans

Traditional sweets could disappear under ‘Orwellian’ Government plans to cut sugar from food products.   

Favourites such as Sherbet Lemons, Liquorice Allsorts, and Parma Violets could all be forced off she shelves.

Public Health England want sweets – of which some are 100 per cent sugar – to be cut to no more than 50 per cent sugar. 

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) said it was ‘impossible’ for many of Britain’s treats to exist under new measures.

The think tank slammed the plans as ‘the largest extension of state control over the British diet since rationing’.  

Favourites such as Sherbet Lemons, Liquorice Allsorts, and Parma Violets could all be forced off she shelves under proposed Government plans

Targets have been drawn up by Public Health England which advise manufacturers on how to cut sugar, salt and calories in foods.

Research by the IEA has revealed officials have set 220 different goals to cut salt and sugar in the past couple of years, The Daily Telegraph report. 

To slash obesity levels, efforts should be made to cut overall sugar and calorie content from hundreds of foods by around 20 per cent. 


From April 2018, soft drinks companies have been required to pay a levy on drinks with added sugar. 

If a drink contains between 5g and 8g of sugar per 100ml the tax is 18p per litre, whereas if a drink has more than 8g of sugar per 100ml, the tax is 24p.

Fruit juices and milk are not included in the tax. 

The move aims to help tackle childhood obesity. Sugar-sweetened soft drinks are now the single biggest source of dietary sugar for children and teenagers.   

Some drinks, including Fanta, Lucozade, Sprite, Dr Pepper and Vimto, had their recipes changed so they contained less than 5g of sugar and the price did not need to be put up.

However, others like Coca Cola and Pepsi refused to reduce the amount of sugar and, as a result, the price of them increased.  

The Government has predicted the levy will raise £240million a year, which will be spent on sports clubs and breakfast clubs in schools.

The sugar tax raised £153.8m in the first six months after it was introduced, between April and October 2018. 

Sweets should not contain more than 48.4g of sugar per 100g by 2020, an IEA report due to be published Friday claims.  

This would mean boiled sweets may be left behind, as well as Jelly Babies and Liquorice Allsorts which are typically around two thirds sugar.

Sugar-free versions of many boiled sweets already exist, containing sweeteners such as sucralose.

But attempts to lower the sugar in the original versions have resulted in a unfavourable taste and laxative effect.

Fudge is around 60 per cent sugar, but faces an uncertain future because of its high fat content.

PHE state any reduction in sugar must not result in an increase in fat. Traditionally, fudge is made from just three ingredients: sugar, butter and cream. 

In the report, the IEA said the targets were ‘beyond Orwellian’ and had a ‘shocking’ lack of evidence to back them.

Josie Appleton, author of the report called Cooking for Bureaucrats, said attempts to ‘reformulate’ popular foods were a ‘baffling’.

Denying public choice, and treating customers in an ‘infantile’ way, is ‘the largest extension of state control over the British diet since rationing’, she said. 

Many manufacturers have already started shrinking their products size to keep their original recipe and taste.

Ms Appleton said Benugo has reduced their blackberry and apple tart from 130g to 103g, while Pret muffins have shrunk from 145g to 115g – but prices appear to remain the same. 

Customers have already made clear they aren’t pleased with current attempts to slash sugar.

The IEA said customers criticised Coco Pops after the chocolate cereal tasted ‘stale’ with less sugar.

The report also details how health officials have long been battling over whether a Twix bar and Penguin bar are under the chocolate or biscuit category.

The Government plans, which aim to tackle obesity in Britain, were expected to be released in Spring.   

But publication has repeatedly been delayed amid a backlash of the country becoming a ‘nanny state’.

Boris Johnson vowed to end so called ‘sin taxes’ before becoming Prime Minister.

He said taxes on foods high in sugar, salt and fat ‘clobber those who can least afford it’ and should be halted unless there is clear evidence that they work.

It was even proposed he would reverse the sugar tax, which was enforced in April last year.

Around 90million kg – 90,000 tons – of sugar is believed to have been removed from the nation’s diet so far, and £340million has been raised for the Government to spend on children’s health.