Irn BruImage copyright AG Barr
Image caption The new recipe will start to appear in stores this month

Fans of Irn Bru have started stockpiling the soft drink ahead of a planned change in recipe.

Makers of the fizzy favourite are changing the formula of the product to cut the sugar content by almost half.

It is part of a sugar-reduction programme by AG Barr before the government levy on sugary drinks comes into effect in 2018.

But fans have launched the “Hands off our Irn Bru” petition, attracting more than 6,000 signatures.

Irn Bru drinkers are angry after the manufacturer revealed the new flavour would appear in stores in January.

They have been taking to social media to vent their dismay, with stories of people buying up to 250 cans mentioned but not substantiated.

Image copyright change.org
Image caption The petition has attracted more than 6,000 signatures

The Cumbernauld-based firm announced last year that it would cut Irn Bru’s sugar content from about 10g per 100ml to just below 5g.

This will reduce the calorie count per can from just under 140 to about 66.

AG Barr said the move was part of a “long-standing sugar reduction programme”.

‘Rather pay more’

Heading the “Hands off our Irn Bru” petition is Ryan Allan from Ayr.

He has bought 24 cans of the drink for “when he is hungover” and said his anger was mostly at what will be replacing the sugar.

Image copyright AG Barr
Image caption Chief executive Roger White said the company had “significantly” reduced sugar across its portfolio in recent years

On his change.org petition, he stated: “The government’s ‘sugar tax’ that would apply to the sales of sugary drinks is similar to the way cigarettes and alcohol are taxed.

“I would far rather pay more for a bottle than have an altered recipe version.

“Although we are being made more aware of the health effects of too much sugar in our diet it also has to be said that aspartame has often been the subject of studies and intense debate and is believed, by some researchers and activists, to have links to a multitude of ailments including cancer, seizures, headaches, depression, ADHD, weight gain and birth defects.

“I believe that a responsible adult should have the choice as to what poisons they want to put in their body.”

‘Give it a try’

A spokesperson from A.G. Barr said: “From January 2018 Irn Bru will continue to be made using the same secret Irn Bru flavour essence, but with less sugar.

“The vast majority of our drinkers want less sugar in their Irn Bru so that’s what we’re now offering.

“We know that our loyal drinkers love Irn Bru for its unique great taste and we’ve worked hard to deliver this.

“We ran lots of taste tests that showed most people can’t tell the difference – 9 out of 10 regular Irn Bru drinkers told us we had a good or excellent taste match.

“Most shoppers can expect to buy Irn Bru with reduced sugar from later this month. Give it a try when it comes out.”

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