The Coca Cola truck has become a regular feature of Christmas at the London Design Outlet in Wembley Park but concern has been voiced about the marketing of sugar drinks aimed at children in an era of rising rates of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. LINK
This year rather than joining in publicising the visit due on Friday, Brent Council, in David and Goliath mode, have written to Coca Cola asking them to limit their giving out of free drinks to diet and zero sugar drinks instead of the usual Coke that has the equivalent of 9 teaspoonfuls of sugar in a 330ml can.
In pleading for the multi-national company, who long ago incorporated Santa Claus into their advertising, to act responsibly for the benefit of children, Brent Council point to the fact that nearly half of children in the borough aged 11 are overweight or obese. Although tooth decay in the borough have been reduced recently there is still much to do to tackle the problem.
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Some councils and health authorities have called for the trucks to be banned completely.Accompanied by lights and music, in vivid red, they are clearly aimed at children who find their lure irresistible.
Cllr Krupesh Hirani, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing said:
It’s great to see Coca-Cola getting into the festive spirit once again. However, in a borough where nearly half of 11-year-olds are overweight there is an obvious concern that there is this focus on encouraging children to consume what is a highly-sugary drink.
Mums and dads in Brent have enough of a challenge to keep their children healthy and we hope that with a little bit of responsible marketing and one small change, Coca-Cola can be a part of the solution to Brent’s obesity issues, rather than part of the problem.
With nine teaspoons of sugar in each 330ml can of Coca-Cola, their flagship product clearly has a negative impact on people’s health. With obesity and diabetes levels so high in the Borough, we are calling on Coca Cola to stop promoting their sugary drinks to our residents. They are entitled to market their products and we are calling on them to promote their diet and zero sugar drinks instead.