Obesity widens economic inequalities, affecting the poor the hardestDr Alison Tedstone, PHE chief nutritionist Duncan Selbie, PHE chief executive said on Monday the food industry needed to “step up,” highlighting the fact some companies had “as yet taken little or no action”.The findings, which examine the amount of sugar per 100g, show that the content in biscuits and chocolate confectionary has remained stubbornly unchanged, in the first year since the targets were set. And puddings have become one per cent sweeter, despite repeated pledges to crack down on sugar content, the data from shopping baskets shows. Tackling the obesity crisis needs the whole food industry to step upDuncan Selbie, PHE chief executive An updated childhood obesity strategy, due to be published within weeks, is already considering a clampdown on advertising and marketing of junk foods to children, which could include a ban on adverts for such foods before the 9pm watershed.Steve Brine, Public Health Minister, said: “We lead the world in having the most stringent sugar reformulation targets and it is encouraging to see that some progress has been made in the first year.“However, we do not underestimate the scale of the challenge we face. We are monitoring progress closely and have not ruled out taking further action.”Protect yourself and your family by learning more about Global Health Security Government targets to cut the sugar in common foods have failed spectacularly – with puddings getting sweeter and no change at all in chocolates or biscuits, new figures show.Ministers pledged to slash levels in a vast range of products by 20 per cent by 2020, under the Government’s 2016 childhood obesity strategy.But the first official assessment of progress shows that almost seven in 10 of the most popular brands have shown no change in their sugar content – or have even seen it increase.Across the board, sugar content has fallen by just two per cent against a target of five per cent in the first year.And the least change has been made in some of the most sugary products, the figures from Public Health England (PHE) show.Manufacturers were told to shrink their products, change their recipe or boost sales of healthier options to meet the key pledge.Instead, the majority have either done nothing or made their offerings even sweeter.Of the top 20 brands responsible for the most sugar sales, 56 per cent saw no change in their content and 12 per cent added more.Just 33 per cent cut the amount in their products. The greatest reductione came in the category of yoghurts and fromage frais, with a six per cent cut in both sugar and calorie content, while sugar in breakfast cereals fell by five per cent.Officials today set out more targets, calling for a 20 per cent reduction in the sugar content of all milk-based drinks, which are exempt from a sugar tax introduced on soft drinks earlier this year.PHE also called on the drinks industry to cap the calorie content of all juice based drinks at 150 calories, and to cut sugar in all juice-based drinks by five per cent.However, these targets are also voluntary. Dr Alison Tedstone, PHE chief nutritionist, said: “This is about tackling the nation’s obesity crisis. Too many children and adults suffer the effects of obesity, as does society, with our NHS under needless pressure. Obesity widens economic inequalities, affecting the poor the hardest.”Ministers said tougher actions may be planned. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Food giants have already said the sugar targets are unrealistic, with Tim Rycroft, of the Food and Drink Federation, saying the 20 per cent aim “won’t be technically possible or acceptable to UK consumers”.Duncan Selbie, PHE chief executive, called on food manufacturers to do more.He said: “We have seen some of the food industry make good progress, and they should be commended for this. We also know that further progress is in the pipeline.“However, tackling the obesity crisis needs the whole food industry to step up, in particular those businesses that have as yet taken little or no action.” The strategy, published in August 2016, had been criticised by some charities for relying too much on voluntary efforts by the food industry to offer healthier produce.Last night ministers said they had not ruled out further action, with an updated strategy expected within weeks.The assessment of shopping basket data examines eight categories of food; biscuits,puddings, breakfast cereals, chocolates, sweets, yoghurts, spreads and ice cream. Cakes were excluded from the analysis because of problems with data quality.Overall, sugar content of all such foods fell by just two per cent, against the five per cent target.But what progress was made came largely from categories such as yoghurts and breakfast cereals – the only two categories to meet or exceed the target – with little change made among other categories where sweeping changes were pledged. While no change was made to the sugar content of biscuits and chocolates, the figures show a one per cent rise in sugar content of puddings sold – causing a four per cent rise in calories consumed in one sitting.