Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has cut the sugar content in its Capri-Sun fruit drink products by 50% to 4.9g per 100ml by substituting added sugar for the natural sweetener stevia.

The lower-sugar recipe has been introduced for all flavours in the Capri-Sun original range, including blackcurrant, orange, tropical fruit and summer berries. They will be launched first in the UK before being rolled out to Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands.

CCEP claims that the new recipe has not altered the taste of the products and parents and children who participated in its focus groups provided positive feedback on the taste.

CCEP customer marketing director Simon Harrison said: “At CCEP, we have been on a sugar reduction journey for many years, listening to consumers and customers and making small decreases in the amount of sugar used across our full portfolio of brands.

“The introduction of stevia has enabled us to reduce the sugar content in Capri-Sun without compromising on the famous taste of the much-loved juice drink.

“We have always been clear that we would never change the recipe of any one of our brands unless the taste was equalled or made better. We have done just that with Capri-Sun, thanks to the inclusion of stevia, a sweetener form a natural source.”

This follows other moves by CCEP and Capri-Sun made in response to consumer demands for lower sugar products. It launched no added sugar Capri-Sun juice drinks made with sucralose in the UK in 2015 and no added sugar Fruity Waters aimed at helping parents encourage their children to drink more water in 2016.

All Capri-Sun products are made from a combination of fruit juice and water and there are no added preservatives, flavours, colours or sweeteners.

Capri-Sun was founded in 1931 by German food entrepreneur Rudolf Wild, but it wasn’t until 1969 that its beverages were packaged in its current familiar stand-up pouch form, which was a first for Germany.

The pouch was invented by its founder and keeps the contents fresh and cool, as well as being light-weight and resistant to outside influences such as scratches or tears.