Consumers vs campaigners – low-sugar Lucozade

The battle brands face with a looming sugar tax is a growing one. This week Lucozade unveiled it’s new reformulated energy drink that has cut the sugar content by 50 per cent. The reviews so far aren’t great.“Vile” and “made me gag” are some of the more polite comments on social media, and many references have been made to the new prominent “chemical” taste.

Some of the comments Lucozade has received on Twitter

It also went down badly with the diabetic community which relies on this drink for a sugary fix to help with hypoglycemic attacks.

This is the new dilemma brands and their PR teams are facing but, it’s the old issue of ethics that’s rearing its head here.

Don’t do anything and the brand is seen as a monster making every man, woman and child obese with it’s sugary ways. Act in a socially responsible manner by adapting the product and they risk losing taste or quality resulting in a fall in sales.

Drinks companies struggle to replicate the taste you’ve come to expect without the use of sugar. So it’s a bit of a catch twenty two, they are going to annoy either their consumers or campaigners.

Lucozade is the first major brand to say they will reformulate to reduce sugar, and actually commit to their promise. Despite receiving praise from Public Health England for the new product which launched over the Easter weekend, they spent the bank holiday dealing with complaints. Their social team is doing a great job at dealing with the vast amount of comments they are receiving.

Lucozade released a fairly strong comment in relation to the feedback they were receiving…

“We’re sorry to hear that some consumers have tasted a change in Lucozade. We conducted extensive research with a large representation of our consumers who told us that the new recipe was still the brand they loved to drink – and the majority couldn’t identify a difference. We think our drinks developments team has done a brilliant job to remove 50 per cent of the sugar while keeping the great taste, but we will be sure to pass this feedback on to them.”

In the end, this will all come down to whichever party has the loudest voice…

  • The campaigners – meaning the new 50 per cent sugar recipe will stay.
  • The consumers – meaning Lucozade will be forced to re-introduce the new recipe (perhaps alongside a reduced sugar version).

OR…

  • The CEOs – meaning if sales are hit and puts the brand in real trouble a shift back to the original product recipe will occur but consumers will have to pay the sugar tax.

Only time will tell, so I’ll be watching to see what happens!

Where do I stand on this issue…

Let’s get one thing straight immediately. No one forces you to drink or eat anything, so why fizzy drinks companies are facing a sugar tax is beyond me. Don’t buy it or have it in the house and educate your children to make choices and have treats in moderation. If we all did this, the governments threat of a sugar tax wouldn’t be a problem brands are facing.

However, this doesn’t happen and that’s how we end up with the battle between consumers and campaigners.

I understand why Lucozade have done this, and I salute them. It’s not an easy decision to make, especially with pressure coming from so many authorities. But, if it’s going to effect the taste, I’d rather pay the tax. I don’t drink sugary drinks regularly, so for me they are a treat. Lucozade has been my go to for so many situations like when I’ve been ill, when I walked from London to Brighton and other sports events.

I feel annoyed that I’m suffering for other people’s inability to control themselves. The obesity crisis is not Lucozades fault. It’s a shame they aren’t doing two products so people can make their own decision but I respect them for doing the right thing.

I’ve not tried the product yet, so fingers crossed it’s not as bad as everyone’s saying, as I really love tropical Lucozade and the orange one too.

What do you think about this change for Lucozade? Have you tried it? If so, what do you think of it? Should there have been more PR and advertising around the fact that Lucozade was changing it’s recipe?

 

 

Featured image from https://twitter.com/LucozadeEnergy

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