The campaign group analysed 131 hot flavoured drinks and found that 98 per cent would receive a ‘red’ (high) label for excessive levels of sugar and 35 per cent contained the same amount or more sugar than a can of Coca Cola.
The worst offender was Starbuck’s with the Hot Mulled Fruit - Grape with Chai, Orange and Cinnamon Venti (extra-large) which contained 25 teaspoons of sugar, followed by Costa Coffee’s large Chai Latte with 20 teaspoons of sugar.
With the imminent release of the government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy the campaign group has called for stricter product reformulation of sugar and fat with mandated targets. It also wants a ban on promotions and the marketing of unhealthy products and a 20 per cent tax on sugar-sweetened drinks.
It said that despite the negative attention that many chains attracted last year after reports that some Christmas drinks were full of fat and sugar little has been done to rectify the situation.
Action on Sugar also accused Starbucks of adding to the excessive sugar intake by selling its products in larger sizes.
A Starbucks spokesperson said:“Earlier this year we committed to reduce added sugar in our indulgent drinks by 25 per cent by the end of 2020. We also offer a wide variety of lighter options, sugar-free syrups and sugar-free natural sweetener and we display all nutritional information in-store and online."
Professor Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London, chair of Action on Sugar said: “This is yet again another example of scandalous amount of sugar added to our food and drink. No wonder we have the highest rates of obesity in Europe.
“Cameron now has all the evidence to make the UK the first country in the world to stop the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic. “
Kawther Hashem, registered nutritionist and researcher for Action on Sugar said that coffee shop chains must reduce the amount of sugar immediately and stop the extra-large serving sizes.