Following requests from teachers to ban the sale of highly-caffeinated energy drinks to under-16s last month, Waitrose have become the first supermarket to take a step in that direction.
Teachers were concerned that such drinks were causing behaviour problems in the classroom due to limited concentration levels. Data presented by researchers from FUSE, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, showed that sales of the drinks that tend to provide more caffeine in one can than the recommended daily intake for young people are dramatically on the rise.
As of March 2018, Waitrose will ban the sale of these drinks to under-16s. Their director of technical and corporate social responsibility, Simon Moore, explained to the BBC: “These drinks carry advice stating that they are not recommended for children, so we’re choosing to proactively act on that guidance, particularly given the widespread concerns which have been raised about these drinks when consumed by under 16s.”
Waitrose’s decision is certainly a step in the right direction but other supermarkets and retailers will have to follow suit if such a movement is to be successful. Research of a well-known energy drink suggests that such a product can be purchased cheaper in at least five other supermarkets.
Waitrose also only account for 5.1% of the market share. With just 344 stores across the UK, as of August 2017, their decision is unlikely to make waves unless the ‘big four’ supermarkets follow suit. Tesco and Sainsbury’s have over 5,000 stores open in the UK and account for 43.6% of the market share. Asda and Morrisons take the combined total to 69.3%, thus meaning that such chains need to support Waitrose in their decision and have a nationwide impact on the health of young people in this country.
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