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UK: BSDA rejects soft drinks marketing ban call

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The British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) has hit back at a study by the Children's Food Campaign calling for a ban on the marketing of soft drinks to children in the UK.

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The report 'Soft Drinks, Hard Sell', published by the UK-based campaign group yesterday (29 August), criticises manufacturers for prominently using fruit on packaging and in advertising when the products themselves contain little fruit. The study highlighted Nichols and GlaxoSmithKline in particular, for their Vimto and Ribena drinks respectively.

Children's Food Campaign report researcher, Clare Panjwani, said the survey found "some truly misleading marketing blatantly used to drive sales and increase children's soft drinks consumption", which she said contributes to tooth decay and childhood obesity.

"We need better regulation to protect children from marketing for soft drinks and other junk food, and better food labelling so that parents and children can tell more easily what's in the products they are buying," Panjwani said. "Water is by far the healthiest - and most sustainable - drink to quench children's thirst, but it needs to be available in public places like parks so that it is easily accessible at all times."

The BSDA however, has called the report "unfair and mistaken".

"The label of each drink carries the ingredients list, including the juice content, and nutritional information," a spokesperson for the BSDA said. "The Guideline Daily Amounts scheme (concerning nutrition facts labelling) ensures that the most important nutritional information is visible at a glance on the front of the pack.

"Advertising and labelling are covered by strict regulation and independent control, to which soft drinks companies are subject," the spokesperson added. "Soft drinks, like all food and drink, should be consumed as part of a balanced diet."


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