"The nanny state needs to change its focus from punitive to informative."
UK confectionery expert Andy Baxendale has accused the Government of trying to kill off the industry and make millions of families feel guilty for enjoying sweets and chocolates this Christmas.
He said that in the last two years, public health agencies have set 220 different targets for reducing sugar and salt in common foodstuffs, with sweets the top priority.
The targets, drawn up by Public Health England, advise manufacturers on how to cut sugar consumption, which could force many household favourites off the shelves.
Many boiled sweets, such as Sherbet Lemons, are made almost entirely of sugar, chocolate is between 40 – 50% and fudge is around two thirds sugar.
But Andy insisted that all the ill-thought out initiatives in the world would not work, as educating people about consuming confectionery in moderation was the only way forward.
And he revealed: “They’re basically going to kill the UK sweetie industry with their stupidity. The government, as usual, is pandering to the whims of the do-gooders who come up with ideas with very little scientific basis, based on spurious results, usually without all the contributing factors.”
Andy said that one of the new initiatives was trying to force firms to reformulate and remove sugar when there was no effective replacement.
But he said: “Sugar free sweets have a laxative effect from the sugar replacer, and sweeteners have, according to some research, dubious properties linked with disease and other conditions.
“Taxing sweets is not the way – look at cigarettes and booze – tax doesn’t make a difference – they are still used by loads of people.
“They government is setting unachievable levels for reduction of sugar and here we are, just about to start the run-up to Christmas and we are making people feel guilty about enjoying the sweets and chocolates which have been part of our traditional Christmas for generations.
“What are parents going to fill children’s stockings with? Are we going to go back to the days of giving our children a few walnuts and a satsuma?
“Education is the key – starting with the smallest children – dietary education about what a staple diet is and what treats are plus how many calories to eat to control your diet, maximise health and reduce obesity.
“The nanny state needs to change its focus from punitive to informative. Plus while they are fussing about sugar confectionery, what are they not telling us – is it all a smokescreen whilst they are up to dubious antics elsewhere?”
Andy, based in Wigan, is known throughout the industry as The Sweet Consultant and has 24 years’ experience in the confectionery business and a Master of Science (MSc) in Advanced Food Manufacture.
The former product development manager for Chewits is a respected national consultant in every aspect of confectionery production.
He has extensive knowledge of regulation and legislation in the industry, advising companies on everything from recipes to staff training and enhanced production techniques.
He was one of the stars of the hit BBC 2 confectionery show The Sweet Makers.
He is currently working to set up a National Academy of sweets to teach a new generation the art of confectionery production and development.
Andy added: “People demonise sugar and blame it for obesity and ill health but contrary to all the bad publicity and Nanny State interference, sugar is actually needed for life – without it we simply can’t function.
“Sugar is an important part of a balanced diet and we need to get away from this idea that it is bad for us. It isn’t, it is actually very good for us.”