UK campaigners are calling on the government to extend its Soft Drinks Industry Levy to include sugary milk alternative-based drinks.

With the festive season in full swing, Action on Sugar has found that despite trendy plant-based alternatives, consumers are still drinking hot chocolates and lattes which contain large amounts of sugar.

Action on Sugar surveyed 124 hot chocolates and 79 seasonal lattes, it found that certain seasonal beverages would receive a red traffic light for sugar portions of over 13.5g. Starbucks Signature Caramel Hot Chocolate with whipped cream, using Oat Milk was the worst participant, containing 23 teaspoons of sugar which are the same as eating four white chocolate and strawberry muffins.

"Shockingly, so many high street coffee chains are putting their customers' health at risk despite PHE setting sugar reduction targets for sugary milk drinks in 2018," said Action on Sugar's nutritionist, Holly Gabriel. "Coffee shops and cafes need to take much greater steps to reduce the levels of sugar and control portion sizes, promote lower sugar alternatives and stop pushing indulgent extras at the till."