UK – Heineken UK has said that it has significantly reduced sugar across its cider brands and will add nutritional and calorie information on the brand labels starting 2019.

The move will see the leading cider maker add calorie count on its Strongbow, Bulmers and Old Mout brands packaging as a way to provide consumers with information on what is contained in their drink.

This is part of the company’s strategy to boost accountability in terms of health and nutrition, laying open the ingredients used in its beers.

“We have already made the changes on our beers and now our entire range of ciders will give consumers calorie and ingredient information to help them make informed choices,” said Cindy Tervoort, UK marketing director at Heineken.

“We hope this move will inspire the rest of the cider industry to follow.

“We’re incredibly proud of the new and improved Bulmers apple cider. The new recipe champions Bulmers’ rich British heritage.

“By expanding our orchard range with variants such as Hastings and Amanda apples, Bulmers cider now has a natural, authentic sweetness that new and existing consumers have shown great enthusiasm for – and all with 30% less sugar.”

Heineken UK has also relaunched its Bulmers Original cider with a new recipe made with British apples and free from artificial flavourings, colours and sweeteners.

The brewer said it has changed the recipe to contain 30% less sugar while also being made from apples grown exclusively in the UK.

The innovation is in line with a research by Kantar Worldpanel which suggests that 93% of Britons want to reduce the amount of sugar they consume.

This way, Heineken is broadening the brand’s appeal which it says is also suitable to vegans.

The company said it has invested £58 million (US$73.6 million) in its cider operations in Herefordshire, UK, over the last two years to improve the sustainability of its cider making.

Heineken already prints calorie information on its beers in the country, a change that took place last year.

Although alcohol was not affected by the UK government’s sugar tax which came into force in April last year, brewers and cider producers moved to include calorie and nutritional information on packaging, plus significant sugar cuts.

In 2016, European brewers agreed to ingredients listing and nutrition information for consumers, a move that was backed by both Heineken and Carlsberg.