UK charity accuses food manufacturers of pushing sugary products during lockdown

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UK charity, Action on Sugar, has accused manufacturers of capitalising on the Covid-19 outbreak by pushing sugary foods and drinks during lockdown. 

Katharine Jenner, campaign director and nutritionist, has warned that standards of oral health will suffer as a result of the crisis, with many people tempted to grab quick and easy snacks while working at home and home-schooling children. Action on Sugar believes that manufacturers are targeting those staying at home, encouraging them to buy sugary products at a time when many people are not exercising as frequently as they would be normally. 

The charity is concerned not only that manufacturers and leading brands have stepped up their advertising campaign to benefit from a larger audience at home, but also that very little is being done to try and reduce its impact. The publication of a report on sugar reduction within the confectionary industry has been delayed as a result of the pandemic, and this has caused progress to stall. Public Health England had set a voluntary target of 20% reduction for food manufacturers by 2020, but campaigners are worried that companies are failing to do their bit. 

Excessive consumption of sugar is a widespread problem in the UK, with the majority of children consuming too much sugar on a daily basis. This is undoubtedly linked to rising rates of tooth decay and childhood obesity. 

Ms Jenner criticised the government for failing to act to stop companies targeting households during lockdown and said that the “most vulnerable members of society are now a captive audience.”

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