Oxford Town Hall is leading the way in helping people reduce their daily sugar intake by launching a traffic light system on packaged drinks.
The Town Hall Café already offers free tap water refills and it now displays information about the sugar content of drinks found in its chiller:
• a green sticker means that the drink contains less than 5g of sugar per 100ml
• an amber sticker stands for five to 10g of sugar per 100ml, and
• a red sticker means there are more than 10g of sugar per 100ml.
The NHS suggests that people aged 11 and over should not have more than 30g of added sugar a day; that's about seven teaspoons.
The Council has signed up to Sustain’s Local Government Declaration on Sugar Reduction and Healthier Food. This new arrangement at the Town Hall Café is part of the Council’s actions to make it easier for residents to reduce their sugar consumption.
Lemon Zest, the family-owned catering company that runs the Town Hall Café, changed the drinks in stock to help reach the Sugar Smart business criteria of having 80 per cent of drinks on sale categorised as either green or amber.
Alastair Eccles, Operations Director of Lemon Zest, said: “As the café is in the heart of the Town Hall, it was important that we supported Oxford City Council and Good Food Oxford in offering our customers clear information regarding the sugar content of drinks on sale. I hope these changes will help people make more informed choices.”
Councillor Louise Upton, Board Member for Healthy Oxford said: “The City Council is, and should be, leading the way in Oxford’s ambition to become a Sugar Smart city. Being Sugar Smart means making it easy to understand your sugar intake so that you can take control and make informed choices. And it means challenging local businesses and institutions to help tackle the burden that diet-related disease has on society. It means asking restaurants to provide tap water as standard with meals.
“I’m delighted we’re paving the way through our café and hope that this will encourage businesses and schools to do the same. Let’s all try and get into the habit of carrying a refillable bottle of water with us!”
NHS guidance is that consuming too much sugar and too many foods and drinks high in sugar can lead to a range of issues, including weight gain, which, in turn, increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.