The UK chain has taken the lead on sales of energy drinks to children

The UK chain has taken the lead on sales of energy drinks to children

UK supermarket chain Morrisons says it has been “praised” for its trial ban on energy drinks sales to under-16s, but will review the move next month before deciding whether to roll it out nationally.

Twelve of the group's 570 stores implemented the ban early last month, which applies to products containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre. The pilot scheme means that young people, not acompanied by adult, are being challenged by staff to prove they are over 16. 

The move, a first among UK supermarkets, was partly prompted by concerns raised by parents, teachers and politicians, the company said. It also follows the British Soft Drinks Association's code of practice, which recommends children only consume caffeine in moderation. The code also states that drinks with more than 150mg caffeine per litre should carry the warning: "Not suitable for children, pregnant women and persons sensitive to caffeine."

“A number of people who have seen what we are doing have praised us for this move,” said Guy Mason, Morrisons' head of corporate affairs. But he added: “We know that some of our younger customers are having difficulty proving they are 16, and we will have to take this in to account when we make our decision in the New Year on whether or not to roll this out.”

Asked by just-drinks today (5 December) whether energy drinks producers had objected to the ban, a Morrisons spokesperson said: “No. We made them aware before we did it. We've had good feedback.” 

The spokesperson confirmed that a review of the pilot scheme would be conducted in “mid January” before a decision on a national roll out is made. 

In June, reports emerged that a UK school had banned energy drinks over fears they were affecting pupils' learning

The US has also seen fears raised about energy drinks, with a doctors lobby group calling for a ban on energy drinks marketing to under-18s among the latest developments.