Product Snapshot: Up & Go Reduced Sugar Vanilla Ice

Written by Catherine Saxeby and Megan Cameron-Lee on Wednesday, 05 August 2015.
Tagged: breakfast, convenience, Liquid breakfast, Product snapshot, review

Product Snapshot: Up & Go Reduced Sugar Vanilla Ice

Up & Go: the breakfast drink with "the protein, energy and fibre of 2 Weet-Bix and milk". But haven’t you ever wished it didn’t have quite so much sugar? Well, it seems Sanitarium has listened to its consumers’ needs and brought out a reduced sugar variety. We stack the sugar cubes to see how much of the white stuff has been taken away from this well-loved breakfast alternative, and the subsequent impact on the taste and overall nutrition content.

How does it taste?

We were certainly curious as to whether this new ‘healthier’ breakfast drink tasted any different to the original, so we tasted one of the new Up & Go Reduced Sugar tetras in vanilla. Unlike many other reduced or no-added sugar products, Sanitarium hasn’t just replaced the sugar with an artificial sweetener, so we were surprised when this pleasant vanilla tasting beverage was still very sweet! They may have cut back on the sugar but I certainly couldn’t tell by taste. Is this a good or a bad thing, you ask? Well, it really depends on your taste preferences and expectations; it certainly would be a better substitute for those who love the original version, but those looking for a less sweet-flavoured start to the morning might just have to keep looking.

How does the sugars content compare to the original Up & Go?

Up & Go Reduced Sugar has less added cane sugar, but it certainly isn’t sugar-free. Unfortunately, nutrition information panels (NIPs) don’t separate natural sugars from added sugars, but we are able to compare the total sugar content of the reduced sugar version to its original counterpart. The result? This new Up & Go has 7.5g or 2 teaspoons less total sugars (11.8g versus the original’s 19.3g), which is a 30 per cent difference. Now while this isn’t a lot, it is enough to cut the kilojoules/calories by 15 per cent. Of course, they could never get the sugars down to zero because it’s a milk-based drink, which means it includes lactose, the sugar naturally found in milk.


  • Same convenient single-serve tetra pack – just push the straw in and drink.

  • A handy product for growing teenage boys, who may otherwise leave home without eating anything.

  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, B1, B2, niacin, B6, B12 and folate; so it acts as a top-up in a palatable form (a replacement for a multi-vitamin perhaps?).

  • Shelf-stable and with a long life of six months.

  • Pleasant vanilla flavour.

  • Surprisingly sweet, despite no sweetener to make up the sugar shortfall, which is different to other drinks such as Lipton Ice and Coke Life.

  • No colours.

  • Affordable at $4.45 for a three-pack, which equates to $1.50 each.


  • It still contains added sugar so is not sugar-free. At 4.7 per cent sugars, it does have 30 per cent less than the regular version at 7.7 per cent. Note: some of this figure is from the lactose in the skim milk powder, which is the largest ingredient. There is no way of knowing how much sugar is from added cane sugar.

  • Despite getting a five Health Star Rating, it is still a highly processed product, with 25 ingredients including additives.

  • It is not equivalent to the wholegrains in Weetbix, and there are no actual Weetbix present. It is only the equivalent of the protein and fibre of two Weetbix and milk.

  • Not as satiating as chewing through two Weetbix with milk.

  • Contains three unusual forms of liquid fibre (inulin, hi-maize starch, oat flour).

  • It tastes surprisingly sweet, despite no sweetener to make up the sugar shortfall.

  • Don’t replace water or normal milk with this as it’s got the kilojoules/calories of a snack, and so will quickly add up.

  • A whole lot of non-biodegradable packaging.

  • Not very nice once it’s lukewarm; it needs to be drunk ice cold.

Nutrition stats 

Nutrient Per serve - 250mL Tetra  Per 100g
Energy  (kJ/Cal) 688/165 275/66
Protein (g) 8.5 3.4
Fat        Total (g) 3.8 1.5
              Saturated (g) 0.5 0.2
Sugars (g) 11.8 4.7
Dietary Fibre (g)  4.3 1.7 

Ingredients :

(from Ingredient List on back)

Filtered water, skim milk powder, wheat maltodextrin, soy protein, cane sugar, vegetable oils (sunflower, canola), flavours, inulin, hi-maize starch, oat flour, mineral (calcium), food acid (332), vegetable gums (460, 466, 407), stabiliser (452), salt, vitamins (C, niacin, A, B12, B6, B2, B1, folate).

Comparison side by side

See the lower sugars and lower kilojoules in the Reduced Sugar version:

  Reduced sugar Up&Go Regular Up&Go
Component Per 250mL Tetra Per 100g Per 250mL Tetra Per 100g
Energy (kJ/Cal) 688/165 275/66 815/195 326/78
Sugars (g) 11.8 4.7 19.3 7.7

The verdict?

For Up & Go lovers, this might be a slightly healthier alternative, offering 30 per cent less sugar. It is still no substitute for a healthy homemade breakfast and shouldn’t be consumed on a daily basis. However, it is convenient and so could occasionally come in handy for busy, active or growing people; and is much better than no breakfast at all.

Thanks to guest reviewer Megan Cameron-Lee, APD, for the first draft.