The supermarket has confirmed it will axe lunchbox-sized versions of Ribena and Capri Sun drinks that contain added sugar, although other products, including sugar-free versions of these, will continue to be sold.
This comes as the supermarket embarks on a 10-point plan to help the UK tackle childhood obesity, but the finer details of this change have not been clear in everyone's mind. Nearly a full page in today's Sun is devoted to a story under the headline 'Outrage at Tesco's plan to axe Ribena'.
The supermarket has moved to clarify its position, saying it "wanted to help customers make healthier choices" in a statement. "From September all the children’s juice drinks we sell will have no added sugar in them because we know it’ll make a positive difference to children’s health," the statement said.
In a statement to PRWeek, LRSuntory, which owns Ribena, said that Tesco remains a "key strategic partner" and it will continue to provide squash and 500ml bottles as well as no-added-sugar cartons for children. A spokesperson told PRWeek: "Ribena has been enjoyed by consumers for over 75 years and over that time we have evolved the brand and the products we offer to meet changing consumer needs.
"We take consumer calorie consumption seriously. Ribena Original ready-to-drink flavours now contain five per cent less calories and sugars, we offer light and no-added-sugar variants across all formats and we continue to inform consumers about the right drink, at the right time, for the right occasion."
Earlier this year Tesco announced it was going to reduce the sugar content in its own-brand soft drinks by five per cent each year. The supermarket also claims it has already cut 4.5 billion calories from the range.
The move has been welcomed by health campaign group Action on Sugar, whose chair Graham MacGregor said: "Children should not be drinking sweet soft drinks and parents should make sure they switch to water instead."
However, commentators on social media were not so welcoming, with many appearing to overreact after misunderstanding that all drinks will be banned.