Retailers urged to follow Aldi sale controls on energy drinks

From March young people purchasing energy drinks will be obliged to present ID

A tax of 30 cent per litre on drinks with more than 8g of sugar per 100mls is to be introduced from April. File photograph: Getty Images

A tax of 30 cent per litre on drinks with more than 8g of sugar per 100mls is to be introduced from April. File photograph: Getty Images

 

All retailers should follow Aldi’s lead in banning the sale of energy drinks to children under the age of 16, Senator Catherine Noone has said.

The Aldi supermarket chain will introduce an age restriction across all Irish and UK stores on the sale of energy drinks from March 1st 2018. After this date customers buying soft drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre from Aldi stores will be asked to prove their age.

Oliver King, managing director of corporate responsibility at Aldi, said the chain was introducing the age restriction in response to “growing concern about the consumption of energy drinks among young people”.

Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone called for all other retailers across the State to follow Aldi’s example, warning that energy drinks were presenting a considerable health risk, especially to children and young teenagers.

“Some products deliver an enormous 21 teaspoons of sugar and as much caffeine as 2½ espresso shots,” said Ms Noone. “Depending on their age the average child should be consuming a max of four spoons of sugar per day. With one-in-four Irish children overweight or obese, anything to curb their access to products laced with hidden sugars is to be welcomed.”

A tax of 30 cent per litre on drinks with more than 8g of sugar per 100 mls is to be introduced from April under the terms of budget 2018. There will also be a reduced rate of 20 cent per litre on drinks with between 5g and 8g of sugar per 100ml. This means the cost of cans of Coca Cola, 7Up, Pepsi Cola, Monster Origin Energy Drink, Red Bull, San Pellegrino lemon and Schweppes Tonic Water is due to rise.

Ms Noone also warned that teenagers should not rely on fizzy drinks to enhance their performance in sport, saying research showed there could be a link between the consumption of energy drinks and sudden cardiac arrest among healthy young people.

Researchers from the European Association for the Study of Obesity reported last month that the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, which contain many “empty calories”, was associated with being overweight or obese.

Despite hard evidence that drinking fizzy drinks is leading to health problems, particularly among children, researchers warned that actions to reduce consumption of these drinks was “limited or non-existent”.

Dr Nathalie Farpour-Lambert from Switzerland, one of the authors of the report, said political will combined with co-operation from the beverages industry was urgently needed to reduce people’s consumption of fizzy drinks.

“The balance between the responsibility of individuals, health advocates, and governments and society must be clarified. Professional networks and the food and beverages industry must be encouraged to promote healthy diets in accordance with international standards.”