YMCA finds sweet success with no sugar

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 12th July 2017

YMCA, Victoria’s largest provider of community recreation, has recorded the same amount of dollar transactions despite removing sugary soft drinks from its centres and offering alternative options instead.

The YMCA decided to stop selling sugary soft drinks in hopes of encouraging its users to make healthier beverage choices.

YMCA Advocacy Manager, Ariana Kurzeme, said the YMCA has approximately 18 million visitors per year who come to their centres to work on their fitness, yet its centres were selling 28 tonnes of sugar to its users through sugary drinks.

“We want to stop contributing to the problem and start being part of the solution by creating healthy eating environments,” Kurzeme said.

Analysing the decision to remove the soft drinks, Deakin University surveyed 1,500 YMCA customers and found 88 per cent were supportive of the decision to remove sugary drinks.

Kurzeme said YMCA itself received little negative feedback about the decision.

“In fact many parents express gratitude for our action on sugar drinks, as we are creating healthier cafes/kiosks and therefore reducing pester power,” she said.

YMCA looking to cut out more sugar

YMCA is now looking to cut more sugar and is in the process of removing sugary sports drinks from its centres and other unhealthy food options.

“Our policy uses a traffic light system that classifies food and drinks in either red (limit), amber (choose carefully) and green (best choice) based on their nutritional value,” Kurzeme said.

“We are aiming to reduce ‘red’ foods to a maximum of 10% and remove all sugary drinks. We are trying to make healthy choices the easy and preferred choice. We are doing this by substituting unhealthy items with healthier options e.g. packets of chips with popcorn, modifying recipes or reducing portion sizes so they sit within the green or amber category,” she said.

YMCA is not the only organisation in Australia deciding to cut sugar with some Australian hospitals deciding to stop selling sugary soft drinks in April 2016.


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