Tesco jumps on energy drink ban for under-16s

Tesco has become the latest supermarket to introduce an age restriction on energy drinks
Tesco has become the latest supermarket to introduce an age restriction on energy drinks
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Tesco has become the latest major supermarket to announce plans to stop selling energy drinks to under-16s.

The chain said it would “introduce measures” to prevent the sale of energy drinks to children in the UK from March. It follows similar moves by the likes of Waitrose and Asda. Customers buying drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre would be asked to prove they are over 16 from March 5.

Tesco said energy drinks had not been marketed to under-16s since 2013.

There are 20 Tesco outlets scattered across Edinburgh.

A Tesco spokeswoman said: “Implementing new measures on energy drinks is another opportunity to help our customers adopt healthy habits.

“We know that this isn’t easy to implement, so in addition we will create awareness in store and online to highlight that high-energy caffeine drinks are not recommended for children, supporting the #notforchildren campaign.”

Campaigners have been calling for a complete ban on the sale of energy drinks to children following findings their sugar and caffeine content remains high despite reformulation ahead of the soft drinks levy.

The British Soft Drinks Association introduced a voluntary code of practice in 2010 stating that high-caffeine soft drinks should not be promoted or marketed to those under-16.

Last month, campaign group Action on Sugar (AoS) found that typical serving sizes of energy drinks were larger than other sugar-sweetened drinks at an “excessive” 500ml.

Youngsters in the UK are among the highest consumers of energy drinks in Europe, figures have shown.

Kawther Hashem, nutritionist at AoS at Queen Mary University of London, said: “We are delighted to see that Asda, Morrisons, Aldi, Sainsbury’s, Lidl and now Tesco have followed Waitrose’s lead with its ban on energy drinks and hope other retailers will comply.

“Energy drinks are a contributor to sugar intake which is linked to the development of obesity and various types of cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes, and is rotting our children’s teeth.

“Our study published last month in the BMJ Open revealed that sugar, calorie and caffeine content in energy drinks remain far too high. Just one can of Rockstar Punched (500ml) contains 78g sugar. That’s nearly 20 teaspoons.

“Retailers must be held accountable and reminded to reconsider their ethical responsibility.”