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Ribena reassurance as Tesco bans lunch box cartons of sugary drinks

Published 28/07/2015

Lunch box cartons and small bottles of added sugar juice drinks aimed at children will no longer be sold from the start of the new school year
Lunch box cartons and small bottles of added sugar juice drinks aimed at children will no longer be sold from the start of the new school year

Ribena has reassured consumers that they can still buy some of its products from Tesco after the supermarket giant announced it will ban sugary cartons aimed at children.

Twitter users wrote of their despair at the news, while some appeared to wrongly understand that all Ribena drinks would be removed.

The supermarket will take down all lunch box size cartons and small bottles of added sugar juice drinks aimed at children from its shelves in response to concerns about child obesity.

The ban will affect Ribena, Rubicon and Capri Sun brands, but large and no-added sugar versions of the drinks will still be available.

Ribena said: "Thanks for all the love. Don't worry, you can still buy Ribena Squash, 500ml bottles and No Added Sugar cartons in Tesco."

Among those who tweeted was Lianne Wood, who said: "Heartbroken that Tesco are taking Ribena off their shelves. Not sure how I'm going to cope. Bring back Ribena."

Another user called Chris had complained: "Tesco please say you're not seriously axing Ribena? That's utterly mental. Will all your ready meals be next?"

The move comes as Tesco says it will reduce the sugar content of its own brand soft drinks by 5% a year.

A typical 288ml carton of blackcurrant-flavoured Ribena contains 29g of sugar, a 288ml Rubicon Mango carton contains 37.8g of sugar, and a 200ml orange Capri Sun contains 20g of sugar.

The NHS currently recommends a 30g daily limit on added sugar intake for those aged 11 and over.

A Tesco spokeswoman said: "We want to help our customers make healthier choices and that's why we have pledged to continue to cut sugar from the food and drink on our shelves.

"From September all the children's juice drinks we sell will have no added sugar in them because we know it'll make a positive difference to children's health."

While the move has been welcomed by health campaigners, some consumers have complained that it does not go far enough.

John O'Sullivan tweeted: "This is a publicity stunt because if you really cared about sugar consumption then you'd ban three quarters of cereals, chocolates, drinks etc?"

Tesco replied that it was "only dealing with drinks at this time" but Mr O'Sullivan added: "That's great but why stop there with one product? Most schools don't allow anything but water these days."

Graham MacGregor, chairman of Action on Sugar which campaigns for a reduction of sugar in packaged foods, said all supermarkets should introduce the ban.

"This is great news and shows that Tesco is taking the issue of sugar in soft drinks seriously, and all other supermarkets should follow their lead," he said.

"Children should not be drinking sweet, soft drinks and parents should make sure they switch to water instead."

Excess sugar in children's diets is partly blamed for the rise in child obesity, with almost one in ten four to five-year-olds obese and nearly one in five 10 to 11-year-olds obese.

Sugar is also responsible for the poor state of the nation's teeth. A quarter of five-year-olds have suffered tooth decay, which is the number one cause of hospital admissions among children.

Doctors have previously called for a 20p tax on all added sugar drinks as well as a ban on marketing of unhealthy food and drink products to children and young people.

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