Tesco’s soft drinks buying manager David Beardmore told The Grocer magazine, “This is a part of our 10-point plan against obesity and decided that from September we will only sell no-added-sugar drinks in the kids’ juice category. Most of the suppliers are supportive of it and understand what we are doing.”
Meanwhile, thousands of outraged shoppers took to social media, poking fun at Tesco and accusing it of hypocrisy. Despite the retailer’s admirable efforts to combat childhood obesity, many consumers pointed fingers at Tesco for still holding onto other sugar-filled high-calorie products such as chocolates, pizzas and fizzy drinks which contain significantly more sugar than a Ribena carton drink. Here are some of the Tweets that were aimed at Tesco.
I was gonna buy a Ribena but Tesco don't sell it cos it causes obesity so I guess I'll have a coke, fags and wotsits cos they must be fine— Lily Bailey (@LilyBaileyUK) July 28, 2015
Tesco stops selling Ribena to tackle childhood obesity?! So processed meat, Coke, chocolate, crisps & pizza next yeh? http://t.co/KvWa6Qdk7z— Rou Reynolds (@RouReynolds) July 28, 2015
Wow. Tesco has cured obesity by banning Capri Sun and Ribena. The ONLY two causes of obesity. What a time to be alive.— Oliver Age 24 (@OliverAge24) July 28, 2015
Banning Ribena to halt child obesity is like banning Rennies to fight drug addiction.— Marina O'Loughlin (@MarinaOLoughlin) July 28, 2015
Tesco, in response to the consumers’ demonstrations, said only 150ml to 300ml size carton drinks aimed at children will be banned. The larger cordial bottles and no-added sugar versions will still be available at the stores. The supermarket also announced plans to reduce the sugar level in its own-brand of soft drinks by 5 percent each year and said it has already cut 4bn calories from its offerings. A Tesco spokeswoman said, “We want to help our customers make healthier choices and that’s why we have pledged to continue to cut sugar from the food and drink on our shelves. From September all the children’s juice drinks we sell will have no added sugar in them because we know it’ll make a positive difference to children’s health.”
Tesco seems to be leading the way in the clampdown on sugary drinks and their actions have surely challenged other retailers to follow their lead. Last year, Tesco also put a ban on chocolates and sweets from being sold at its checkouts to help fight the childhood obesity epidemic. The retailer claimed to have replaced the sweets with healthier snacks including dried fruit, nuts and cereal bars to spread the message. It’s been quite long since a reduction in the sugar levels incorporated in food and drinks is overdue and strong measures had to be imposed to sympathize with the situation at hand. Tesco surely took a wise approach to put a healthy school meal program in place that aims to ditch added-sugar products from the kids’ juice category.