As vital as it is to get active in order to stay healthy, the right sort of diet plays just as important a role in allaying any health fears we may have. Therefore, we have decided to take huge strides towards reducing the amount of sugar on offer in our centres.
Action on Sugar
Until recently, we’d been making good progress on that front anyway, having won the Eat Out Eat Well Award, the Bristol Eating Better Award scheme among others. With these changes over the previous two years, we had been working hard to reduce sugar and, with results in Bristol going so well, we decided to widen our stance on reducing the sugar on offer and embracing Sugar Smart targets, initially in Bristol, before being eventually rolled out across all our centres.
In order to meet these Sugar Smart targets, we have made some significant changes to the products on offer in our centres. We now have an exclusively low sugar, no added sugar or sugar free kids range across all our centres, as well as low sugar, school-compliant drinks.
We have also introduced flapjacks and brownies from Honest, which significantly reduce the amount of sugar in their recipes compared to our previous supplier, while we have also introduced sugar-free coffee syrups and bespoke sugar-free slushies to all centres that serve them. Meanwhile, wherever possible, we have removed chocolate from near the tills and replaced with healthier bars, as well as dried fruit and nuts.
Reducing Sugar in Vending Machines
Naturally, vending machines play a big part in our food and beverage offering and, along with our snacks provider Nestlé, we have ensured that all standard bars, snacks and treats contain less than 250 calories each, thereby complying with Government standards. Meanwhile, sites in areas that are part of the Sugar Smart scheme offer products that are even lower in sugar, salt and saturated fat, such as rice cakes, dried fruit and baked crisps
Action on Drinks
Together with our drinks providers, Britvic and Lucozade Ribena Suntory (LRS), we have been working hard to reduce the amount of sugar in the drinks we sell via both the tills and vending machines.
For example, at least 75% of all the LRS drinks we now sell are low- or no sugar, while the remaining 25% is comprised almost entirely of sports drinks recommended only to those who are taking over one hour of intense activity. Furthermore, 80% of all Britvic drinks are low sugar, have no added sugar, or are zero sugar, while all the Britvic drinks sold in centres participating in the Sugar Smart scheme are included in these categories.
Customers proved very agreeable to the menu and vending machine changes we put in place, with no decline in profits or sales and we managed to significantly reduce the amount of sugar consumed. For example, at just one centre – Plymouth Life Centre – the removal of Pepsi and Mountain Dew – which were replaced by sugar-free alternatives of the same brand – is expected to result in a saving of more than half a ton of sugar this year, while combined with other participating centres across the country in Middlesbrough, St. Albans, Slough, Bristol, Ealing and Havering is expected to result in a saving of three tons of sugar over the next three years.