If you grew up as a 90’s kid, there’s no doubt that you remember sipping on Capri-Suns after a long summer day of trading on the neighborhood Pokémon card economy and practicing for the upcoming Skip-It tournament. Now, in 2018, the delicious, iconic, and unreasonably-difficult-to-puncture plastic pouch is getting a makeover on the market of the United Kingdom. As a response to the new sugar levy, manufacturers of Capri-Sun are turning to artificial sweetener Stevia to cut the sugar in their drinks by an estimated 50 percent; this change will make the drink immune to the latest tax penalties placed on drinks with high artificial sugar content.
Capri-Sun’s new look
Capri-Sun’s new recipe substitutes the original sugar-laden treat with a blend of water, sugar, and steviol-glycosides to heavily reduce the sugar content of the drink. The new blend brings the content of sugar in Capri-Sun to 4.9g per 100ml–just shy of the levy, which punishes manufacturers of drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml.
If you are in the United Kingdom and longing for a taste of nostalgia, you shouldn’t be concerned about the new Capri-Sun recipe. European ambassadors from Coca-Cola (the producers of Capri-Sun) confirmed that product development leads have gone out of their way to make sure that the new formula does not sacrifice the taste that kids around the world have come to love.
“The new recipe maintains the iconic taste of original Capri-Sun and in testing, parents and their children gave positive feedback,” a Coca-Cola representative stated in a press conference.1
UK’s sugar levy leaves original recipes sour
Capri-Sun isn’t the only sugary beverage reformulating their recipe in an attempt to avoid the new sugar levy being put in place in the United Kingdom this year. Companies like AB Barr, Pepsi Co., and the Dr. Pepper Snapple Corporation have all introduced plans to cut the sugar ahead of the new initiative. The levy places a tax burden on those who purchase beverages with high sugar content on a sliding scale. Manufacturers will need to pay “24p per liter of drink if it contains 8 grams of sugar per 100ml,” and “18p per liter of drink if it contains between 5 – 8 grams of sugar per 100ml.”2 Revenue from the levy will go towards the development of educational materials intended to teach children about the importance that a balanced diet, regular schedule of exercise, and well-managed weight plays when it comes to overall health.
Sugar’s role in childhood obesity
The introduction of the levy is intended to curb growing rates of childhood obesity within the United Kingdom. According to research by the National Health Service, a whopping one-fifth of children between the ages of 10 and 11 are classified as obese.3 This upward trend in childhood obesity can be seen around the globe; across the pond in the United States, one in five school-aged children are also obese.
Will American shelves be seeing low-sugar Capri-Sun soon? As the sugar levy goes into effect this year, government officials around the world will be watching closely…and drafting legislation according to the results.