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Press Releases and Statements

Illovo Sugar Malawi launches the Making Sense of Sugar campaign 13th November 2019

  • Campaign will provide access to objective scientific advice on the role sugar can play in the diet
  • Part of Illovo Sugar Africa’s Thriving African Community Purpose under which the business supports and works with the Government of Malawi and donor agencies in the areas of health promotion
  • Activity across Southern Africa supports AB Sugar’s global commitment to reach over 25 million people around the world by 2030

Illovo Sugar Malawi today announced the launch of the ‘Making Sense of Sugar’ campaign which aims to inform and educate Malawians on the role sugar can play in the diet based on Malawian dietary patterns and available guidelines.

Making Sense of Sugar was first launched by AB Sugar (part of the ABF Group, the parent company of Illovo Sugar Africa the majority shareholder of Illovo Sugar Malawi) as a UK campaign in 2014 and will now be rolled out to other countries. Today, the campaign launched in Malawi with plans to roll out in Zambia, South Africa and Spain later this year. Other countries where AB Sugar has operations will follow in 2020.

Central to the campaign is the Making Sense of Sugar website – – which provides information about sugar in a way which is straightforward and informative. It addresses some of the myths around sugar, provides information on the different types of sugar and how they are used as well as gives Malawian’s guidance on how to interpret labels on foods and drinks.

Malawi, through Illovo Sugar Malawi is the first Southern Africa country to roll out Making Sense of Sugar as education plays a key part in supporting Malawians in the country on food choices. This is within the context of the challenges facing the country including diet staples, food security, rising levels of non-communicable diseases. At the same time, malnutrition and micro-nutrient deficiency, including vitamin A deficiency, remains an issue for Malawians.

The campaign is aligned to Illovo Sugar Africa’s Thriving African Community purpose. Through this programme, the business continues to support and work with the Government of Malawi and donor agencies in the areas of health promotion, preventative services and primary healthcare. As well as supporting the Government’s strategy to help reduce infant and maternal mortality by fortifying all sugar for direct consumption with vitamin A, other initiatives include:

  • Providing housing to more than 4,500 employees and their family units. The houses are serviced and electricity, clean drinking water and utilities, including sewerage and waste disposal, are provided.  It is estimated that approximately 40,000 people live on the group’s premises at Dwangwa and Nchalo.
  • Drilling and equipping boreholes in areas surrounding our estates in an on-going effort to provide safe drinking water.
  • Operating 12 company-run clinics on both estates which are staffed by medical doctors and other qualified health personnel. On average, these clinics attend to more than 25,000 patients on a monthly basis, including members of local communities who do not have access to health care. During the year, almost 5 000 employees and their dependents attended voluntary HIV / AIDS counselling and testing programmes, with more than 3,000 affected patients registered on the company’s “wellness” programme. Dispensing ARVs on behalf of the Government.
  • Supporting Government schools located on the Estates where more than 13,000 pupils are educated. The group also continued its active involvement in school feeding programmes.
  • Providing employment to over 9 000 people and providing an offtake of sugarcane from almost 3 000 smallholder farmers.

Illovo Sugar Malawi’s activity supports AB Sugar’s ‘Global Mind, Local Champions’ sustainability framework. Through this, AB Sugar has committed to provide access to objective scientific advice on sugar, the diet and health to over 25 million people around the world by 2030.

Quote from Mark Bainbridge, Managing Director, Illovo Sugar Malawi:

“I am delighted to launch the Making Sense of Sugar campaign which will help our consumers and customers better understand our ingredient and our fortification initiatives. The launch is part of our Thriving African Community commitment to help people understand our ingredient and the role it can play as part of the diet, as well as support the Malawian Government in the area of health and nutrition – including vitamin A fortification.

“Over the coming months we will be extending the campaign to include a wider education programme focused on the importance of a varied and balanced diet and the role sugar can play within this based on robust science. We will also be supporting the Government of Malawi with the upcoming Child Health Day screenings this month”.


Notes to Editors:

  • For more information on the Making Sense of Sugar campaign, visit: or follow us on Twitter @senseofsugar
  • Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc is listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE). Illovo Sugar Africa (PTY) Ltd holds 76% of its issue share capital with the balance of the shares being held by public and other institutional investors. Illovo Sugar Africa is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Associated British Foods (ABF) in the United Kingdom.
  • Illovo Malawi is the country’s biggest producer of sugar and plays significant[1] role within the Malawian economy. It has developed significant agricultural and milling assets at the Dwangwa Sugar Estate in the mid-central region at Nkhotakota and at the Nchalo Sugar Estate situated in the south of the country at Chikwawa. On average, Illovo Malawi, together with smallholder Malawian farmers, grows two million tonnes of sugarcane enabling the production of up to 260 000 tons of sugar annually.


30th April 2018

Tackling obesity: What the UK can learn from other countries

Thinktank 2020health has today published a new report ‘Tackling Obesity: What the UK can learn from other countries’ which explores a number of programmes and policy measures being implemented globally to tackle childhood obesity.

The latest report builds on two previous reports published by 2020health on the topic of obesity.

The first report, Careless Eating Costs Lives focused on a range of solutions, many of which were connected to diet.  The second report, Fat Chance? Exploring the evidence on who becomes obese, examined 16 data-sets to determine ‘who’ is obese in the UK and what are the determining correlates linked to rising levels of obesity.

All three reports have been funded by unrestricted educational grants from AB Sugar and the views expressed within these reports do not necessarily reflect those of AB Sugar.


4th November 2015

Fat Chance? Exploring the evidence on who becomes obese – press release (20kb, pdf)

Fat Chance? Exploring the evidence on who becomes obese – full report (720kb, pdf) 

A year on since their last report Careless Eating Costs Lives, 2020health has released a new study examining the wealth of current knowledge and data on obesity. The study seeks to address one crucial question: ‘Who exactly is becoming obese?’

The study looked at 16 data-sets to determine ‘who’ is obese in the UK, and what are the key correlates linked to rising levels of obesity. Julia Manning, Chief Executive, 2020health believes the report confirms the incredibly complex nature of the challenge that we face to improve the health of the nation.

13th October 2014

Careless eating costs lives – press release (20kb, pdf)

Careless eating costs lives – full report (720kb, pdf)

Nothing less than a cross-sector 5-10 year strategy is required to tackle the obesity crisis, according to a new report by 2020health.

Click the links below to read a selection of media coverage the 2020health report has received to-date.

17th September 2014

Making Sense of Sugar Campaign Launched By AB Sugar (496kb, pdf)

As the obesity debate continues to capture the nation’s attention, a new campaign launches today, Making Sense of Sugar, to help inform and educate people about sugar, the role it can play as part of a healthy balanced diet, and to help people to make better informed choices about what they consume.