Surely not! Is this Energy Drink marketed at Children!?

Children drinking Energy Drinks
Do you find this disturbing? (source totsandgiggles.com)
Sometimes anger gets the better of you. A morning trip to the supermarket left me enraged (and no, it wasn’t anything to do with the queues, car parking or customer service). The source of my fury was what I had seen for sale in the aisles. Were my eyes deceiving me or had I really just seen… an ‘Energy Drink’ for kids?

Concerns over high-caffeine drinks in children are well publicised but this morning I was troubled that one firm had well and truly overstepped the mark with their new drinks can design.

I could be wrong, it might just have been a trick of the light or an innocent oversight of their marketing team. I’ll let you decide whether you think this high-sugar caffeinated drink would appeal to a typical seven year old:

energy drinks marketed to children?
Spot the difference: A Child's Orange Juice sachet, A Toddler's Math Book and an Energy Drink?

The dangers of a high caffeine intake in children and teenagers hit the headlines earlier this year after the American Academy of Paediatrics issued a warning that energy drinks “have no place in the diet of children and adolescents” and their consumption may lead to long term problems. Remarkably, even the Daily Mail did a reasonable job at covering the story!

It is patently clear that directly marketing energy drinks to children is, at the very least, irresponsible. Stopping short of accusing this firm of targeting children (I don’t want to end up in court), I pose the question: Shouldn’t energy drinks manufacturers also have a duty to protect younger children?

It’s likely that the new can’s ‘kiddie-friendly’ livery is an inadvertent result of trying to ‘stand out’ from the crowd in a competitive market. The eye catching yellow tin with hand drawn fruits reminiscent of a child’s drawing most certainly does that. It was unfortunate that the cans were also positioned at waist height – the eye level of a seven year old.

domokun with energy drinks
Isn't it time for an energy drink rethink?
The one sin that this and many other energy drink brands fall foul of is a failure to give any written guidance on reasonable caffeine intake. Amongst the tiny writing on the rear of the tin, caffeine content is described but no indication is given as to what this means or whether it is safe to be given to children. Surely we can do a little better than this?

Shops, governments and drinks manufacturers aught to stop turning a blind eye, and need to wake up and smell the Taurine. Let’s look after tomorrow’s generation and not ‘Give them Wings’ please!

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Thanks for reading – Your comments and feedback are warmly welcomed!

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P.S. All opinions expressed are my entirely my own and are intended to stir debate, not to cause offence or upset. If you have any specific health concerns please seek the advice of a qualified health care professional.

Related Posts:

Are Britain’s Children Energy Drink Addicts?

Coffee – The Virtues of Drinking it!

References:

A nice summary of the main findings of the following paper can be found here (NHS)

AAP (2011). Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks for Children and Adolescents: Are They Appropriate? PEDIATRICS, 127 (6), 1182-1189 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-0965

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5 responses to “Surely not! Is this Energy Drink marketed at Children!?”

  1. I’m confused – are you assuming that it’s marketed to children because the can is yellow and has drawings on it? I see instead a design aimed towards young women who like yoga, and probably buy a lot of organic vegetables at Whole Foods – someone you might consider a bit yuppie.

    I agree that energy drinks should not be marketed to children, but I think that you are enraged about something that is not there.

    • Thanks for the feedback – you could well be right and I could have misjudged it entirely.
      I agree that health conscious women are this company’s target market (their adverts tend to have women in them like you describe). However, I had never seen the product before and walking past it in the shop it reminded me of a kid’s colouring book and it was so bright and colourful that I felt young children would almost certainly be attracted to it. It probably wasn’t deliberate – but a combination of its playful packaging, waist height positioning would, I felt, almost certainly appeal to a young ‘consumer’. Additionally, pseudo-scientific claims of “100% pure” and “natural lift” could make it seem an attractive purchase for an unwitting parent.
      I’ve calmed down a bit now… but I do strongly think that both manufacturers and retails aught to exercise more caution and show a greater degree of responsibility toward our younger generation; these drinks are essentially liquid caffeine and sugar (imagine Pro-plus tablets with spoonfuls of sugar). I’m not in favour of a ‘nanny state’, but given these stimulant-laden products are increasingly attracting a younger audience and I feel something more should be done, e.g.: a) rules against the sale to children, b) Clear warnings on the packaging or b) some kind of legislation to protect children (especially pre-adolescents).
      Have I been unfair toward this particular product…?

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