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Salford Declares Sugar-free Drinks Vending Machines Forever

Following a month-long trial to remove sugary drinks from its leisure centre vending machines and cafes, Salford Community Leisure has decided to remove drinks that contain more sugar than the government’s 5g/100ml sugar tax levy benchmark on a permanent basis.
Salford Community Leisure attracts 1,357,225 visits a year. After the trial that removed full sugar drinks in March, the organisation has pledged to continue to work to make Salford a sugar smart city and has recently linked up with a new drinks supplier to provide healthy alternatives for its customers across its eight leisure centres in the city.

iPro Sport will now be stocked in cafes and sold over the counter, providing a healthy alternative to full sugar cola, lemonade and traditional sports drinks. iPro Sport contains the natural sweetener Stevia, is an isotonic hydration drink packed with vitamins and minerals and contains no artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners.

The move to take out sugar-laden drinks from vending machines and on-site cafes was the first of its kind by a leisure operator in the UK. The initiative saw Salford Community Leisure working with Salford City Council and Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (Salford CCG). This complemented Salford’s involvement in Public Health England’s new Change4Life campaign which encourages parents to get ‘Sugar Smart’ and take control of their children’s sugar intake.
Currently, 22.1% of four and five-year-olds are overweight or obese in Salford (almost one-in-four), increasing to 36.6% (more than one-in-three) ten and eleven-year-olds.

Mark Chew, Head Of Sport & Leisure at Salford Community Leisure, said: “Our efforts to remove sugary drinks took us on an interesting journey and we’ve since found some really beneficial new partners. We’re delighted to be working closely with iPro Sport in our fight against excess sugar. Salford Community Leisure recently took the stance to remove full sugar drinks from our centres and where possible provide healthier alternatives to our customers. iPro Sport meets all of our requirements, not only can we now offer a hydration drink with a low natural sugar content, we can also offer this safe in the knowledge that it is sweetened naturally, without artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners.”

Nick Hird, National Business Development Manager at iPro Sport, comment: “Mirroring our vision, values and moral compass, we are thrilled to be partnering with Salford Community Leisure who are tackling head on the health issues linked to excess sugar consumption within the community. As Official Partners, we have made a long term commitment to support Salford Community Leisure in the fight against sugary drinks, through the supply of iPro Sport and collaborated educational marketing to help further endorse the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle through adopting a low sugar diet and through the uptake of regular cardiovascular exercise. Salford Community Leisure are pioneers leading the way for neighbouring organisations to join them in the fight against sugar and we are delighted to be involved from the outset.”

The Change4Life (C4L) campaign was developed following revelations that four-to-ten-year-olds consume an estimated 5,500 sugar cubes a year weighing 22kg, which is the same weight as an average five-year-old.

Being overweight as a child means that kids are more likely to become obese adults who are more prone to a range of serious health problems, such as heart disease, some cancers, and Type 2 Diabetes.