Ribena drinks now contain under 5g of sugar per 100ml bottle
The Suntory Group, who make the soft drink, cut their sugar content by half last month ahead of the new UK Sugar Tax guidelines in April this year.
Instead, their Ribena drinks now contain under 5g of sugar per 100ml bottle and have been replaced by controversial sweeteners Acesulfame K and Sucralose.
The company has also thickened the drink so its consistency appears to be the same as before by adding Polydextrose, which can cause bloating and flatulence.
Some customers said that they are boycotting Ribena which follows drinks such as Irn-Bru and Robinsons Fruit Shoot which have also swapped some of their sugar content for sweetener ahead of new tax rules.
Hundreds of angry customers have taken to Ribena’s Facebook page to complain over recent weeks.
The Suntory Group has changed the recipe ahead of the introduction of the new UK Sugar Tax in April
Just came on here to find out why our Ribena tastes like drain cleaner. Very silly move Ribena. Not even close to being nice
Paul Court wrote: “Just came on here to find out why our Ribena tastes like drain cleaner. Very silly move Ribena. Not even close to being nice.”
Alice Glimmer said: “The taste has totally changed and i find it disgusting.
“You were one of the few cordials left without sweeteners.
“As I don’t drink them, I will have to stop drinking Ribena after 40 years of being a firm fan. #RibenaBoycott #noSweetnersInClassic”
Andy Sayle wrote: “I thought it looked a bit odd as I poured the concentrate out into my glass, it looked watery. And now I’ve tasted it, and it’s bloody awful.
Got a horrible bitterish aftertaste, and not at all like Ribena always has tasted (for what I can remember of my 38 years on this planet).
“So, I have perused the ingredients list, and lo and behold, artificial sweeteners are in there. Acesulfame K and Sucralose. Granted, it’s not the badass Aspartame, but still it begs the question Why? What was wrong with a nice dose of sugar every now and again? Polydextrose? WTF? One assumes that is to replace the sticky sugar to get the texture right.
“Devious marketing too, you shady bunch. Plastering ‘no artificial colours’ and ‘no artificial flavours’ all over the bottle to trick people into thinking it is all goodness in there with no chemical trickery.”
Paul Norton wrote: “Massive fail thinking no one would notice you changed the recipe! Bring back a full strength sugar Ribena, i’d pay more for it with a Sugar Tax! Like many others have commented, it’s my choice what i drink.”
Customers have complained about the new recipe online, with some deciding to boycott the beverage
And Jessica McVeigh said: “After more than 30 years drinking Ribena (my parents said it was one of my first words) I am having to part with my favourite drink. After opening and pouring my latest bottle I knew something was up. Taste only confirmed it. Absolutely awful!
“I’m lucky enough not to suffer with sweetener induced migraines but I’ve had them and wouldn’t wish them on anyone.”
Attaching a link to the NHS website, Rebecca Welsh wrote: “On the NHS choices page, they state although Acesulfame K has been approved for general use in the EU and the US. Critics say the sweetener has not been studied adequately.
“This is the product you choose to put into Ribena without even warning the consumer!
“I feel that this change will lose you many avid Ribena drinkers, I assume just for you to try and save money.
“I feel that your assumption in sneakily changing the recipe in the hope that no-one notices, without telling the consumer, is highly disrespectful of your customers and a shocking way for a company to operate.”
Ribena responded to customers online, saying: “We honestly feel that this is the right thing to do.
“We feel that taking out half the sugar and communicating the calorie change on all our different packs as part of the guideline daily amounts label and in the nutrition section on the website is the right thing to do.
“However, we’ve not taken this decision lightly and have spent hundreds of hours working on new recipes. And we feel that the one we’ve gone with, is the best and is the one that is the most Ribena at heart.”
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A spokesman for Ribena said: “Like lots of other soft drinks companies, we decided to cut the sugar in our drinks to help people be healthier and reduce obesity in this country. We first announced these plans in November 2016, and we also talked about it on the BBC TV programme ‘Inside The Factory’ this January.
“To get the recipe right, we undertook over 100 trials and 500 hours of work with a team of 100 people. We then got hundreds of Ribena fans to try the winning recipe and almost all of them thought it still tastes just as great as it always has, but we of course really appreciate all the feedback.
“We also wanted to reassure readers that the sweeteners used as a sugar replacement in the new Ribena recipe and in any low or no calorie drink in the UK have been approved by all the relevant safety authorities and have been around for decades.”