Sign your organisation up to the SUGAR SMART Oxford campaign on the national SUGAR SMART dashboard:

Ten flagship businesses are on track to receive a “golden teaspoon” for their SUGAR SMART commitments at a celebration event on 26th September in Oxford’s Town Hall.

The results of Oxford’s GREAT SUGAR DEBATE were announced in March 2018.

Following on from the public launch at the Kassam Stadium in November 2017; 665 people from Oxfordshire responded to the public consultation, 421 online and 244 via a postcard.

Of the 665 people who took part, 41% said they thought they had more than the recommended maximum amount of sugar per day, and a further 17% were not sure. A massive 92% thought young people had more than the recommended maximum amount of sugar per day.

65.6% were very concerned about the amount of sugar in our food and drinks66% were very concerned about the amount of sugar in our food and drinks and 30% were a bit concerned. Only 4% of people surveyed were not at all concerned.

In the online survey, 92% were worried about at least one health effect of sugar on themselves, with the most people (77%) concerned about its effect on their weight. Of the people concerned about child health issues, the issue of most concern was sugar’s effect on their children’s teeth (89%).
In order of popularity, the measures that people thought businesses should take were:

  1. Offer tap water as standard in cafes and canteens (62% of people agreed with this)
  2. Make healthier options more visible (52%)
  3. Traffic light ratings (red/yellow/green) on drinks (46%)
  4. Sugar Smart assemblies or debates in schools and colleges (44%)
  5. Limit the proportion of sugary drinks in cafés and canteens (41%)
  6. Display information about sugar in drinks in vending machines (38%)
  7. 10p ‘sugar tax’ on sugary drinks in cafés and canteens (36%)
  8. Individual challenges to cut out sugary drinks for a week (28%)

Only 1% of people who responded thought no action was needed at all in Oxford’s workplaces, cafés, canteens, leisure centres, schools and colleges.

In response to this public demand for action, Oxford’s businesses are now being invited to takEmpty vending machinee action to make it easier for people to reduce their sugar consumption.

Information for businesses

Workplaces, cafés, canteens, restaurants, leisure centres, and so on can sign up to one or more of the SUGAR SMART business commitments:

  • Promote free tap water
  • Make healthier options more visible
  • Adopt a traffic light sticker system on canteen/café drinks menus
  • Make 80% of drinks offered sugar free
  • Display sugar content information on vending machines
  • Introduce a 10p sugar tax on sales of sugary drinks in canteens/cafés, to go to a children’s health fund

If they sign up to three or more commitments, their business will be awarded a SUGAR SMART golden teaspoon.

Schools and colleges are also being invited to take part; by running assemblies, debates and individual challenges to cut out sugary drinks for a week. The focus of the campaign is sugary drinks but any healthy initiatives are really welcome.

Free resources for organisations, businesses and schools are available from the national SUGAR SMART dashboard where individuals can also sign up to support the campaign, for example by encouraging their workplace, local café or school to get involved.

Interested businesses can also get support by emailing us at Good Food Oxford – we have a SUGAR SMART email address at

Why sugar?

SSbike radcliffe cameraMany of us are consuming too much sugar, and this is increasing levels of tooth decay, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

The recommended daily intake of free sugar* is a maximum of 7 teaspoons for adults and 5-6 teaspoons for children.

*Free Sugar is sugar added to food by the manufacturer or at home, as well as sugar naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices. It does not include sugar naturally present in milk, whole fruit and vegetables.

SS drinks infographicOne soft drink may be two to three times this amount – a 330ml can of soft drink may contain 9 teaspoons of sugar and a 500ml bottle of soft drink may contain 13 teaspoons of sugar.

In the UK, children are having three times as much sugar a day as the recommended amount. Adults are having twice as much.

Sugar Obesity StatsIn Oxford, a third of children have tooth decay (worse than the national average). A third of Year 6 children are overweight. And half of adults are overweight. We need to make it easier for people to choose healthy options, starting with sugar!

We’ve teamed up with the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, Sustain and Sustainable Food Cities and are working in partnership across the city to look at what we can all do at home, in schools, in work and in shops, restaurants, cafés, vending machines and takeaways.


For children and families: find sugar facts, swaps and tips, and shop smart using the Change4Life Sugar Smart resources.
Download the free Change4Life Food Smart app to find out how much sugar is in the food and drink your family consume every day.

For adults: find out about sugars in our diets, tips to cut down, and labelling information on the NHS Choices website.
You can also sign up for lots of free support, tips, ideas and recipes.

For schools and colleges: use the SUGAR SMART Assembly format, SUGAR SMART school debate format, and SUGAR SMART individual challenge record, as well as the Change4Life Food Smart app.

For organisations: you can find further resources on the Public Health Promotion Resource Unit webpage.

Who’s involved?

Sustainable Food City Logo Cyan SmallGood Food Oxford Logo rotatedA project of Good Food Oxford, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, Community Dental Services Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Oxfordshire Workplace Wellbeing Network.

Find out more about Good Food Oxford.