The UK Labour party has pledged to ban sales of “dangerously high” caffeinated energy drinks to under-16s should the party come into government next month.

Labour revealed the ban as part of a wider action plan for child health yesterday (10 June).

A party statement said energy drinks containing 150mg of caffeine per litre will be “banned from sale in retail outlets and online to under-16s”.

Labour added “it has become clear to health and education experts that the current caffeine labelling system is failing to prevent young children from purchasing these drinks”.

Soft drinks such as Coca-Cola are expected to fall below the limit with only 100mg of caffeine per litre.

Meanwhile, a 500ml can of Monster Energy would exceed the limit with 320mg of caffeine per litre, as would Prime energy drinks and Red Bull. However, the latter two products are typically sold in smaller 330ml can formats.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

“The ban will be in line with current labelling and enforced through trading standards,” the statement added.

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s leader, said: “The sale of dangerously high caffeine energy drinks to children under the age of 16 is not justifiable or acceptable and we’ll stop it. I will always take the tough decisions necessary to keep our children healthy,”

According to GlobalData, Just Drinks’ parent, the UK energy-drinks market is set to be worth circa $3.73bn in 2024 and is forecast to reach $4.9bn in 2028.

Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA), said: “In line with and in the spirit of our own long-standing Code of Practice, BSDA members do not market or promote the sale of energy drinks to under-16s and label all high-caffeine beverages as ‘not recommended for children’, so we welcomed the move by retailers to voluntarily restrict sales to under-16s. 

“It’s worth remembering that the European Food Safety Authority has confirmed the safety of energy drink ingredients. We remain committed to supporting their responsible sale but it’s important that any government policy in this area is evidence-based.”

Anna Taylor, executive director of The Food Foundation, described the move as “encouraging”.

She said: “Labour’s plans include restricting the sale of energy drinks and empowering councils to prevent fast food outlets near schools – both could be important steps in the first 100 days of a new government.”