Costa Coffee has left a bitter taste with health campaigners after quietly boosting the sugar content of canned drinks that are popular with youngsters.
Its latest chilled range, including a Vanilla Latte, has 14 grams – or three-and-a-half teaspoons – per 250ml.
A Classic Latte packs 13g – or just over three teaspoons of sugar. That’s the same sugar content as TWO McDonald’s sugar doughnuts.
Our findings show the drinks, launched this year, contain a third more sugar than our last survey in 2019. And some sell for as little as £1.25 – meaning they are popular with teens.
The NHS says kids of four to six should limit daily sugar intake to 19g or five teaspoons, and seven to tens 24g or six teaspoons.
Health experts claim the Coca-Cola-owned chain is flouting official advice on cutting sugar levels to battle obesity and tooth decay.
British Dental Association chair Eddie Crouch said: “Tooth decay is the number one reason for kids to be admitted to hospital. Isn’t that a good enough reason for ministers to take action?”
Dr Linda Greenwall, of the Dental Wellness Trust, added: “These findings are shocking, especially considering the number of children who may consume these drinks. I see a large number of children that require not just a filling but multiple fillings or extractions.”
And Action on Sugar’s Sonia Pombo said: “Despite Government attempts to nudge the food industry into reducing sugar content voluntarily, yet again we see grim evidence it isn’t complying.”
Costa said it had “reformulated” its ready-to-drink range based on “consumer feedback to improve texture whilst also improving overall taste”.
It added: “Although total sugars have increased in the new formulation, this increase is mainly down to the intrinsic sugar found in milk, rather than a result of increasing added sugars.”