UK soft drinks producers have been accused of being “blatantly misleading”, in the way they market their products to children and their parents, according to a report by FoodManufacturer.co.uk.
The report said Britvic and GlaxoSmithKlein are among the companies under attack from the Children’s Food Campaign new report, “Soft rinks, Hard Sell”.
However the British Soft Drinks Association claims the report is "unfair and mistaken" and "based on a partial and incomplete understanding of the facts".
Britvic has been accused of marketing its Fruit Shoot range as being “better than water at keeping children hydrated” while GlaxoSmithKlein’s Ribena has been noted for having to add “90% of its vitamin C content artificially to its drink because of the small amount of juice it contains.
Vimto, produced by Nichols, is also condemned for a marketing campaign “emphasising the drink’s raspberry content, despite the fact that raspberry juice makes up just 0.1% of its ingredients”.
Clare Panjwani, the researcher of the report, was quoted saying: “Our survey found some truly misleading marketing blatantly used to drive sales and increase children’s soft drinks consumption, which contributes to tooth decay and the UK’s record rates of childhood obesity.”
She added that the UK needed better regulation to protect children from marketing for soft drinks and other junk food, and better food labeling to guide parents and children and the content of the products they are buying.
UK soft drink consumption increased by 4.1% in volume and 5.8% in value last year, the fastest growth for seven years, according to the British Soft Drinks Association.
The Children’s Food Campaign said the 14.6 billion litres consumed equated to 234 litres for every adult and child in the country.
Source: Food Manufacture online