Sugarwise certification champions low 'free sugar' foods

Dr Tom Simmons, University of Cambridge
09/03/2016 - 10:12
A new certification for food that derive no more than 5% of their energy from free sugars is set to launch later this week.

The Sugarwise test enables scientists to differentiate between a product’s total sugar content and free sugar content for the first time. Products with less than 5% of free sugars will be able to display the Sugarwise mark.

Rend Platings, founder of Sugarwise, said: “I was shocked to hear that my daughter’s generation may be outlived by their parents. It’s not that we don’t know about the dangers of sugar, we do; the problem relates to our lack of access to healthier choices.

“I am hoping that Sugarwise will have the potential to change things in the same way Fairtrade and Organic labels have – both have successfully driven up demand and availability of products in their categories. We would all benefit if the same was the case for low free sugar products.”

Last year, the government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) ruled that, taken as a whole, the population should get no more than 5% of their daily energy intake from free sugars.

Foods with free sugars are often accompanied with little fibre and other nutrients and can wreak havoc on health. The Sugarwise mark will allow consumers to view the difference between total sugar content, free sugar content and naturally occurring sugar content with a simple recognisable mark.

The Sugarwise test was developed by mother Rend Platings, in collaboration with scientists from the University of Cambridge.

Dr Tom Simmons of the University of Cambridge said: “The majority of the population far exceeds the 5% free sugar guideline amount and, at the same time, obesity and sugar-related illness rates are soaring. Because of this, we developed the Sugarwise test and certification to let people take control of their diets.

“It is about helping consumers make simple swaps and informed decisions. If Sugarwise encourages the food industry to address free sugar content the knock-on effect for society could be huge.”

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