Soft drink giant Coca-Cola has announced plans for an "ambitious" reduction in sugar by 20 per cent across its range of beverages in New Zealand over the next five years.
Last year, an Otago University study found a sugar tax that has been introduced in parts of Europe showed a 10 per cent reduction in overall consumption of sugary drinks.
The Government had previously confirmed it was in the process of considering the feasibility of a sugar tax, but any intervention is yet to be announced.
Coca-Cola New Zealand says the move is a reflection of demand by consumers for less sugary alternatives, revealing it sells more drinks without sugar than Coca-Cola Classic.
"Over half our growth has been in low or no sugar drinks in the past two years," general manager Richard Schlasberg said in a statement announcing the sugar-reduction goal. "In addition, bottled water sales have increased 9 per cent and still water sales 13 per cent in the past two years."
The New Zealand Beverage Council says it applauds the move by the beverage giant in encouraging healthier lifestyles.
"The sugar reduction steps taken by Coca-Cola New Zealand demonstrates the beverage industry is already making strong progress in this area," said chairperson Bruce Sherman.