Objective: To assess trends in relative availability, sugar content and serve size of ready-to-drink non-alcoholic beverages available for sale in supermarkets from 2013 to 2019.
Design: Repeat cross-sectional surveys. Data on single-serve beverages to be consumed in one sitting were obtained from an updated brand-specific food composition database. Trends in beverages availability and proportions with serve size ≤ 250 ml were assessed by χ2 tests. Sugar content trends were examined using linear regressions. The proportion of beverages exceeding the sugar threshold of the United Kingdom Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) was assessed.
Setting: New Zealand.
Results: From 2013 to 2019, there was (i) an increase in the availability of sugar-free/low-sugar beverages (n 25 (8·4 %) to n 75 (19·1 %); P < 0·001) and craft sugar-sweetened soft drinks (n 11 (3·7 %) to n 36 (9·2 %); P < 0·001), and a decrease in availability of fruit/vegetable juices/drinks (n 94 (31·8 %) to n 75 (19·4 %); P < 0·001); (ii) small decreases in sugar content (mean g/100 ml) of sugar-sweetened soft drinks (3·03; 95 % CI 3·77, 2·29); fruit/vegetable juices/drinks (1·08; 95 % CI 2·14, 0·01) and energy drinks (0·98; 95 % CI 1·63, 0·32) and (iii) slight reduction in the proportion of beverages with serve size ≤ 250 ml (21·6 to 18·9 %; P < 0·001). In 2019, most beverages were sugar-sweetened or had naturally occurring sugars (79·1 %) and serve size > 250 ml (81·1 %) and most sugar-sweetened beverages exceeded the SDIL lower benchmark (72·9 %).
Conclusions: Most single-serve beverages available for sale in 2019 were sugary drinks with high sugar content and large serve sizes; therefore, changes made across the years were not meaningful for population's health.
Keywords: Population Health; Reformulation; Sugar reduction; Sugar-sweetened beverages; Sugary drinks.