AG Barr has announced it will reduce the amount of sugar in over 90% of its soft drinks portfolio by this autumn, ahead of the sugar levy.

The Scottish soft drinks manufacturer said it had been innovating to reduce or remove sugar from its products, including its best-known brand, Irn-Bru, that will see a 50% reduction in sugar. 

Irn-Bru used to contain 10g of sugar per 100ml and this is being cut to 5g, with the reformulation making it exempt from the levy. The government confirmed last year that a soft drinks levy would be introduced in April 2018 and drinks containing 5g of total sugar per 100ml will face a lower rate of tax, while those with more than 8g per 100ml would face a higher rate. 

AG Barr said that while consumers are increasingly concerned about sugar, they also think taste should not be compromised. AG Barr’s Marketing Director, Adrian Troy told C-Store that consumer testing proved successful with consumers. 

AG Barr chief executive Roger White said: “Evidence shows that most consumers want to reduce their sugar intake while still enjoying great tasting drinks. We have responded and our announcement today lets them know how we are delivering what they want. 

“Irn-Bru will remain a sugary drink. We have achieved a good match, with less sugar, that tastes great. Our focus has been, and always will be, on making great tasting products for people today and for future generations. 

“Above all we know that our loyal drinkers love Irn-Bru for its unique great taste. There is simply nothing quite like it. However, the vast majority are consuming less sugar. From autumn this year Irn-Bru will still have its unique great taste but with less sugar. Irn-Bru will remain a sugary drink; we are simply reducing the sugar level.” 

AG Barr has a number of options on the market for consumers who want the Irn-Bru taste but with no sugar, with Irn-Bru Sugar Free and the new Irn-Bru XTRA.