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:
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.
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!
Thanks for reading – Your comments and feedback are warmly welcomed!
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.
Are Britain’s Children Energy Drink Addicts?
Coffee – The Virtues of Drinking it!
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