Morrisons joins high-caffeine energy drink ban for children


Morrisons is the latest supermarket to ban the sale of high-caffeine energy drinks to children.

It joins Asda, Aldi and Waitrose in setting a date for when customers buying the drinks will have to prove they are over 16 years of age.

Morrisons will introduce the age limit on March 5.

Andrew Clappen, corporate services director at Morrisons, said: "We have listened to customers and are responding to their concerns about children drinking high-caffeine energy drinks."

Asda's age restriction, which will apply to 84 products, also comes into effect on March 5, while customers buying soft drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre from any of Aldi's UK or Ireland stores will be asked to prove their age from March 1.

Waitrose announced that customers buying the drinks would be asked to show proof of age from March 5.

The move follows calls by campaigners for a complete ban on the sale of energy drinks to children following findings that their sugar and caffeine content remains high despite reformulation ahead of the soft drinks levy.

Kawther Hashem, nutritionist at campaign group Action on Sugar (AoS) at Queen Mary University of London, said: "Energy drinks are a contributor to sugar intake which is linked to the development of obesity and various types of cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes and is rotting our children's teeth.

"Our study published last month in the BMJ Open revealed that sugar, calorie and caffeine content in energy drinks remain far too high.

"Just one can of Rockstar Punched (500ml) contains 78 grams of sugar - that's nearly 20 teaspoons.

"Retailers must be held accountable and reminded to reconsider their ethical responsibility."

The British Soft Drinks Association introduced a voluntary code of practice in 2010 stating that high-caffeine soft drinks should not be promoted or marketed to those under-16.

Youngsters in the UK are among the highest consumers of energy drinks in Europe, figures have shown.

Teachers' union NASUWT has also welcomed the retailers' moves, saying that one in 10 teachers cited energy drinks as a key cause of poor pupil behaviour in schools.