Irn Bru Fans Are Panic Buying Ahead of a Recipe Change

By Tom Pritchard on at

People are very fond of their food and drink, with any attempt to change it facing strong resistance from those who don't want it to change. It happened with New Coke in the US, with Creme Eggs here, and it's happening again with Scotland's favourite soft drink Irn Bru. So fans of the current recipe are panicking and stockpiling as much as they can.

AG Barr, the company that actually makes Irn Bru is set to change the recipe and cut the sugar content in half before the sugar tax on soft drinks comes into effect later this year. The sugar will drop from 10g per 100ml to just under five grams, which will also have the added effect of lowering the number of calories in a can of Irn Bru from 140 down to 66. According to AG Barr the change is part of a "long-standing sugar reduction programme".

The new recipe is set to appear later this month, which is what's kicking off the stockpile and causing Irn Bru classicists to start petitions in an attempt to prevent the change. "Hands off our Irn Bru" was started by Ryan Allan from Ayr, who told the BBC he already keeps a stockpile of the orange drink to deal with hangovers. He currently has 24 glass bottles in his attic, and is angry at what's being used to replace the sugar.

"I know its not going to be the same product and I don't want to get used to it. I know sugar has its concerns but so do sweeteners and people are not as aware of that as they should be.

I know the stuff is about to hit the shelves now and I'm going to ask people to try it out of curiosity but if you don't like it don't buy it, vote with your pound."

For the record sweeteners don't have the same serious health concerns as sugar, certainly not the issue of cancer that comes up so often in these kinds of debates.

AG Barr, on the other hand, says that the top secret Irn Bru recipe will remain the same - just without as much sugar. According to a spokesperson for the company people want to have less sugar in their drinks which is one of the reasons why the change is happening. The fact that the new recipe has less than 5g of sugar per 100ml also means it shouldn't suffer from a tax-induced price hike.

The company claims most people couldn't tell the difference during its in-house taste tests, and has encouraged people to try the new recipe before they make any judgements.

But that won't stop people from complaining, declaring that the new recipe does taste different and is obviously worse than the fully-sugared up version they've been enjoying for so many years. Maybe it will taste worse at first, but people will end up getting used to it. If anyone can get used to Diet Irn Bru, they can definitely get used to the reduced sugar version. [BBC News]

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