A Spoonful of Sugar Tax

A Spoonful of Sugar Tax

Sugar reduction in Irn Bru

AG Barr’s announcement last week that it will be changing the recipe of its iconic Irn Bru drink provoked a storm of protest and panic buying amongst consumers in Scotland and overseas.

Prompted by the sugar tax, Barr has reduced the sugar level in its orange liquid from 10% to just 4.7%. The Company claims that 9 out of 10 regular Irn Bru drinkers describe the new drink as a good or excellent taste match.

It’s a brave step for AG Barr who has to counter our inherent resistance to change plus the negative taste perception many associate with intense sweeteners. Indeed, polls have shown that Irn Bru drinkers are prepared to pay the sugar tax to keep their favourite orange drink the same.

Given that no more than 90% can tell the difference, then the Development team at Barr is to be congratulated: retaining the delicate balance of flavours and the mouthfeel of the original drink without the full complement of sugar will have been far from easy to achieve.

Some of these challenges are highlighted in "Sugar reduction in food and beverages: not as easy as you might think" by Mike Lindley, presented as part of our Sugar Reduction workshop last year.