Call for sugary drink marketing ban
Manufacturers of sugary drinks should be banned from marketing their products to children, a report has said.
The study by the Children's Food Campaign looked at the advertising and marketing of soft drinks in the UK in June and July this year. It wants to see tougher rules brought in to stop manufacturers marketing drinks towards children and a "watershed" brought in for TV advertising of sweet drinks.
The report criticised manufacturers for prominently using fruit on packaging and in advertising when the products themselves contain little fruit. Still Vimto, which contains 5% juice, and Capri Sun, which has 12%, both came under fire for this.
The report said: "It is disingenuous for any manufacturer to argue that a marketing campaign that misrepresents the product and misleads consumers is excusable because its fruit content is listed on an ingredients panel. We believe this is equivalent to a contract's 'small print' and is not an acceptable get-out clause."
Another drink that irked the authors was Fruit Shoot Hydro. Maker Britvic had included a statement on its Ready for Ten website from "Fruit Shoot nutritionist" Julie Dean, who said: "Water can sometimes satisfy (children's) thirst before they are actually properly hydrated, whereas squash and juice are absorbed more slowly so they will drink more."
The authors said this was one of the "most misleading claims" that they had found, and continued: "Such claims contradict public health advice, and encourage parents to give squash and juice products to their children instead of water. Due to Britvic's failure to provide us with robust evidence to support this claim, we have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about this."
The report also criticised the marketing of Ribena that trumpets its vitamin C content, when 90% is added.
The British Soft Drinks Association said: "This report is unfair and mistaken. It is based on a partial and incomplete understanding of the facts.
"It is important that children drink enough fluid to stay properly hydrated, particularly in hot weather or after exercise. Children are more likely to drink enough if they like the taste of the drinks they are offered.
"Advertising and labelling are covered by strict regulation and independent control, to which soft drinks companies are subject. Soft drinks, like all food and drink, should be consumed as part of a balanced diet."