Irn Bru maker AG Barr is going to put less sugar in its drinks

AG Barr also makes KA, Rubicon, Snapple and Tizer

Hazel Sheffield@hazelsheffield
Tuesday 29 March 2016 10:12
comments
At least two-thirds of AG Barr's portfolio would contain low enough sugar not to be hit by the tax, the company said
At least two-thirds of AG Barr's portfolio would contain low enough sugar not to be hit by the tax, the company said

Irn Bru-maker AG Barr has said that it will put less sugar in its drinks, but not because of the sugar tax.

Roger White, chief executive, said that the company would focus its marketing efforts on lower and no sugar products to cater for consumers' changing preferences.

"We have already made significant progress in this area, reducing the average calorific content of our company owned portfolio by 8.8 per cent in four years, and we anticipate the scale of this change to accelerate over the next year as we reduce our overall exposure to high sugar products where appropriate," Mr White said.

If a levy is introduced in April 2018 as the Government has proposed, at least two-thirds of AG Barr's portfolio would contain low enough sugar not to be hit by the tax, the company said.

AG Barr, which also makes KA, Rubicon, Snapple and Tizer, said that sales of squash, sports drinks and some fizzy drinks were hit by poor weather. The company also owns the Strathmore brand of water and said that water sales grew the most of any other products.

The company's profits increased 7 per cent from £38.6 million to £41.3 million in the last 12 months, despite revenue falling from £260.9 million to £258.6 million across the group due to cost cutting measures.

Soft drinks makers including AG Barr are reportedly considering suing the Government over the introduction of the sugar tax that will add 8p to the price of cans of soft drinks and up to 40p of the price of a 1.75 litre bottle from 2018.

The Government is reportedly in talks with drinks makers to try and prevent a legal challenge that is expected to be made through the European Courts. Industry bosses could claim the tax is discriminatory because it will not hit other beverages with a high sugar content, like milkshakes, fruit juice and even coffee.

If they were successful, they could force the tax to be scrapped.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments