As the festive hot drink season gets underway, almost all the major coffee chains have released their offerings for 2021 – from the return of firm favourites, to Quality Street-inspired lattes to a Fudge Brownie Hot Chocolate.
But it’s often difficult to keep track of and compare which ones are packing the largest amount of sugar.
In 2019, Action on Sugar said the festive drink with the highest amount of sugar was Starbucks’ Signature Caramel Hot Chocolate with whipped cream, using Oat Milk in a venti size, which reportedly had over 23 teaspoons of sugar.
But what about this year? Have any of the brands made their drinks healthier, or gone the other way and added more sugar? We’ve whipped together a comprehensive comparison for you - the numbers are based on grande sizes and having semi-skimmed milk in your drink.
We can reveal that, from the drinks featured on online menus, Costa’s old favourite Gingerbread Latte drink has the lowest sugar content, while Caffé Nero’s festive hot chocolate range tops the scale once again.
Here’s a breakdown of our findings:
The chain appears to have significantly reduced the sugar in the old favourite Gingerbread Latte (with cream). Last year, we found that the in-store version of the drink (356ml) had 24.9g of sugar, while the takeaway version (376ml) had 25.8g.
However, according to the nutritional values available on the Costa menu online, the Gingerbread Latte now has 13.6g and 14.5g of sugar respectively, making it the festive drink with the lowest sugar content. Last year, this position was held by the Black Forest Hot Chocolate, which has 28.9g for an in-store drink and 31.8g in a takeaway drink.
Costa has added a new drink to its festive menu, which also has the highest sugar content among its other drinks. The new Quality Street Toffee Penny Latte with Light Dairy Swirl contains 40.1g of sugar in the 379ml in-store drink and 41.1g in the 399ml takeaway drink.
Both the Terry’s Chocolate Orange Hot Chocolate and the Quality Street Purple One Latte have 35.4g of sugar in the in-store drinks and 36.4g in the takeaway options, while the After Eight Hot Chocolate has 34.3g of sugar in an in-store drink and 37.2g in the takeaway size.
You can see the full Costa menu here.
Greggs’ Mint Hot Chocolate contains 43g of sugar per 412ml serving, while its Salted Caramel Latte contains 27g of sugar in a 366ml serving.
The chain has also added a Mint Mocha drink to its festive offerings, which has 36g of sugar per 430g serving.
You can see the full Greggs menu here.
Caffe Nero’s Salted Caramel Latte contains more sugar this year compared to last year, with 33.4g of sugar in its grande offering compared to 28.3g last year. In comparison, the Gingerbread Latte contains 23.8g.
But this pales in comparison to the Mint Hot Chocolate, which boasts 63.8g of sugar per grande serving, while the Hazelnut Hot Chocolate has 60.3g.
You can see the full Caffe Nero menu here.
Starbucks has introduced two new drinks to its festive menu, including the Fudge Brownie Hot Chocolate and the Caramel Waffle Latte. The former contains 51.4g of sugar, while the latter has 37g.
The chain has also brought its popular Toffee Nut Latte back for the festive season, which contains 20.1g of sugar per grande serving.
You can also buy other classic seasonal drinks, such as the Egg Nog Latte, which contains 41.4g of sugar, and the Gingerbread Latte with 25g of sugar.
You can see the full Starbucks menu here.
Pret A Manger
Pret’s festive menu has not yet been released. Last year, the Salted Caramel Latte contained 29.5g of sugar, while the Gingerbread Latte had 26g.
The S’Mores Hot Chocolate – which contains biscuit syrup – contained 42.5g of sugary deliciousness. All festive drinks from Pret come in a 12oz cup.
You can see the full Pret menu here.
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