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Coke chief defends sugar

By Geoff Adams

Coca Cola Amatil managing director Alison Watkins has made a spirited defence of the company’s sugar drinks, in an address in Shepparton on WEdnesday night.

CCA, which owns SPC, also announced this week that it was ending production of Coke Zero (which contains no sugar) in favour of Coca Cola No Sugar.

Coca Cola Amatil is resisting moves to introduce a sugar tax in Australia on high sugar drinks and Ms Watkins argues that sugar drinks are not causing the rise in obesity.

Speaking at the Fairley Foundation La Trobe annual address in Shepparton, she said was clear that neither sugar nor drinks sweetened with sugar were the main cause in the rise of obesity.
Ms Watkins said while the consumption of added sugar was falling in Australia over 20 years, obesity was increasing.
‘‘It seems pretty clear that neither sugar nor drinks sweetned with sugar are the cause of the major obesity rise.
‘‘The causes of obesity are many and it is a complex equation.
‘‘We don’t see a sugar tax as the answer and we are concerned about the impact it would have on Australian manufacturing if governments chose that as an easy way out.
‘‘Fortunately at this stage our government and opposition have no intention of doing.
‘‘We do believe we have a role to play and we aer very committed to playing it.
‘‘Four years ago we made commitments to play a part in increasing the availability of small pack sizes with more low kilojoule beverage options and more transparent beverage information.’’
Ms Watkins said the company has deciced to reduce its sugar content in beverages by 20 per cent by 2025.