AG Barr said the sugar content of Irn-Bru would be cut by around 50 per cent “later this month”, prompting devotees of the drink to begin stockpiling cans in case the taste changes.
“The vast majority of our drinkers want less sugar in their Irn-Bru so that’s what we’re now offering” - AG Barr, makers of Irn-Bru
The drink makers announced plans to drastically cut the sugar content of Irn-Bru in October, allowing it to avoid the UK Government’s new sugar tax which is due to come into force in April.
Instead of using high amounts of sugar, the drink will shortly be blended with a mix of low-calorie sweeteners including aspartame, already used in thousands of other products.
The move means that Irn-Bru’s sugar content will fall from 10.3g per 100ml to just 4.7g, making it officially under the 5g level at which the new sugar tax takes effect.
Despite the change, there will still be four teaspoons of sugar in a regular 330ml can of the drink, although this is significantly less than the 8.5 teaspoons found in the old version.
AG Barr said bottles and cans featuring both the old and new recipes may appear on shelves together “for a time”, urging fans of the drink to remember to check the label.
Irn Bru, which was first launched in 1901, has long been Scotland’s most popular soft drink, outselling global brands including Coca-Cola. It is sometimes described as “Scotland’s other national drink” after whisky.
As a result, the decision to change the recipe has proved controversial, with more than 6,700 people signing an online petition entitled: “Hands Off Our Irn-Bru”.
However, it was on Twitter where the most obvious reaction to the news could be seen as Scots took to the social media platform in droves to complain.
Heard irn bru are changing the recipe, if it’s anything to go by with the lucozade orange am stalking up rapid
— GP (@GP__72) January 4, 2018
First lucozade was ruined, and now irn bru is having to change its recipe too. Naw too far
— Aidan Flood (@aidanflood1) January 4, 2018
just heard on the radio that they are changing the recipe for irn bru because there is too much sugar contents.Well 2018 is ruined already
— courtneycampbell. (@courtneyycee) January 4, 2018
Honestly the only thing that made me happy was @irnbru to find out they're changing the recipe in january is a true heartbreaker. R.i.p to me ever buying irn bru again next year
— Kev At The Shops (@Kev_attheshops) December 15, 2017
question: can i take irn-bru to trading standards for putting ‘original & best’ on the cans when they’re about to change recipe
— tef (@tef_ebooks) December 8, 2017
Just saw Barrs are going to change the Irn Bru recipe😕As it's been my fave soft drink since childhood am no a happy bunny boot that one Barrs! pic.twitter.com/1KEWxU4dJU
— gaynor duncan (@gaynorduncan) December 6, 2017
Some Twitter users were already busy stockpiling the original recipe cans and bottles.
So I may have panicked and bought 48 cans of IRN BRU after finding out the recipe is changing.. https://t.co/NXLWnNva2q
— Callum. (@ThatLadCallum) January 4, 2018
Others had medical reasons for objecting to the change.
People with #pku can’t have aspartame. Thanks to sugar tax it’s going in 100 year old Irn-bru recipe. Even less choice for our kids. Thanks. pic.twitter.com/n8E5Cphp9a
— Blogger (@phedupcampaign) November 17, 2017
One person even Tweeted the First Minister asking her to call "some sort of national emergency" to "stop Barr changing the Irn-Bru recipe".
While another even went to the trouble of messaging the President of the US, jokingly posting: "@RealDonaldTrump What about the Irn Bru recipe changing tho? You need to threaten AG Barr with your nukes!"
Makers AG Barr say most fans won't notice the difference when the new recipe is introduced, a spokesman for the drinks producer said: "We ran lots of taste tests that showed most people can’t tell the difference – nine out of 10 regular Irn-Bru drinkers told us we had a good or excellent taste match."