High street coffee chains have been criticized for providing a “scandalous” lack of information to consumers about sugar content in cake and drink combos.

More than a third of sweet food and drink products sold in major high street coffee shops exceed an adult’s daily limit of sugar in just one sitting, according to a survey.

Action on Sugar found a toffee apple crumble thick shake and a salted caramel fudge cake at Coffee Republic contained 39 teaspoons of sugar or 157g when consumed together, in the study to mark Sugar Awareness Week.

A billionaire’s hot chocolate and a sticky toffee muffin at Soho Coffee Co contained 33 teaspoons of sugar or 133g, as did a strawberry and banana smoothie and a pain au raisin at Puccino’s.

A chocolate chai and gingerbread snowman at Pret a Manger contained 22 teaspoons of sugar or 89g with the same amount in a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino and piece of luxury fruit bread at Starbucks.

Health guidelines recommend adults do not consume more than 30g of “free” sugars – those not “locked in” to food such as fruit and milk – a day.

Action on Sugar is calling for greater transparency over the lack of nutrition information available at the point of purchase, saying details about the sugar content of products were often limited.

Businesses with 250 or more employees in England, including cafes, restaurants and takeaways, are required to display the calorie information of non-prepacked food and soft drinks prepared for customers as part of the Government’s drive to tackle obesity.

Overall, the study found that 782 sweet food and drink products surveyed in nine leading high street coffee shops were often “insufficiently labelled” for consumers.

Just one item surveyed, a Greggs all butter croissant, was found to be low in sugar.

Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar, said: “Whilst it is scandalous that companies get away with providing so little nutrition information, it is even more outrageous that the Government hasn’t taken decisive action to incentivise sugar reduction.

“The need for mandatory nutrition labelling in the ‘out of home’ sector and the introduction of new levies to encourage reformulation has never been more evident. Without doubt, an unhealthy diet high in saturated fat, salt and sugar, and low in fruit and vegetables, is the biggest cause of death and disability globally and costs the UK alone more than £100bn annually. It’s time to redefine profit as a healthy population.”

A spokesman for Soho Coffee says: “Our SOHO Coffee Co. range provides for a huge variety of choice for all consumers. It is not for us to dictate what a customer chooses to purchase or the lifestyle they choose to lead. The report from Action on Sugar is not fairly comparing brands against brands or products against product.”