Sugar rush – industry leaders to swarm Parliamentary summit
Rend Platings, founder of Cambridge-based Sugarwise has arranged a ‘sugar summit’ at the Palace of Westminster in a bid to promote lower-sugar food and drink and help tackle the growing threat of obesity and diabetes.
The summit will explore issues such as R & D incentives for cutting sugar content, lower VAT for healthier food and drink and the best ways to bring lower-sugar products to market.
The event is chaired by Keith Vaz and follows previous Sugarwise-organised Parliamentary summits attended by Jamie Oliver Group, Tesco, Caffe Nero and others. Platings founded Sugarwise to give consumers an easy way to identify products that are low in added sugars.
“We are trying to move the debate into positive things that can be done,” commented Platings. “There are people promoting lower-sugar products; they need a bit of encouragement.”
Platings’ lower-sugar certification scheme launched in March 2016 and now the entrepreneur is going a step further by inviting retailers, Lords, MP’s and charities to the Houses of Parliament on March 23.
The certification scheme already covers hundreds of products – including sweets, ice cream, chocolate bars, fruit snacks and artisan cakes – and has been embraced by supermarkets in the Middle East and China and global communities.
“We are the sugar equivalent of the Fair Trade mark,” added Platings, who has a team in Cambridge, Pasadena California and is opening an office in Brussels later this year. “We would like to see every retailer with certified products. We are going to be appearing on some very large brands this year. As big as it gets.”
Since inception, Sugarwise has been supported by The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). The Enterprise Europe Network has connected the company to international partners and helped shape its value propositions, according to Platings.
“They have helped us with our strategy and how to understand the market and different consumer types,” commented Platings. “They also helped me appreciate the importance of intellectual property. I’m not sure we would have filed our patents if it hadn’t been for their advice and coaching.”
Enterprise Europe Network in the East of England is delivered by two partners, Exemplas and St John’s Innovation Centre. Please contact us to find out more telephone 0845 641 9955, email enterprise.europe [at] eeneast.org.uk or visit www.enterprise-europe.co.uk
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Sugarwise founder Rend Platings with Jamie Oliver