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Press releases

04 January 2018

Waitrose introduces new energy drinks policy

Waitrose has announced plans to introduce minimum age limit on sales of high-caffeine energy drinks. From 5 March 2018, customers buying caffeinated energy drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre will be asked to prove they are over 16 years of age. 

The move builds on existing industry efforts including labelling guidelines which require any high-caffeine energy drink to include an advisory note to children.

Gavin Partington, Director General at the British Soft Drinks Association, said:

“Energy drinks and their ingredients have been deemed safe by regulatory authorities around the world.

“In 2010 we introduced a voluntary Code of Practice to support parents and consumers who want to make informed choices. In 2015 this was updated to include more stringent guidelines around marketing and promoting, including reference to in and around schools.

“Energy drinks are not marketed or promoted to under 16s and all beverages carry an advisory note stating: Not recommended to children.

Energy drink manufacturers have taken all possible steps to be clear about the suitability of energy drinks. Retailers, schools and parents all have a role to play in educating children about caffeine and sugar consumption from all sources.”

Notes to editors:

  • The BSDA code of practice states that high caffeine content soft drinks are not recommended for children, and specifies that this information should be clearly stated on the label of such drinks. It also states that high caffeine soft drinks should not be promoted or marketed to those under 16
  • The energy drinks sector is committed to helping consumers make informed choices which is why they offer low sugar variants across the majority of product lines
  • The 2015 EFSA Opinion confirms the safety of energy drinks and their ingredients and therefore does not provide any scientific justification to treat energy drinks differently than the main contributors to daily caffeine intake
  • There is no more caffeine in most energy drinks than in a typical cup of coffee
  • The main contributors to daily caffeine intake in all age groups are tea, coffee, chocolate and other non-alcoholic beverages [EFSA]
  • The EFSA opinion confirms the safety of daily caffeine intakes of up to 3 mg per kg of body weight for children and adolescents (3-18 years) and up to 400 mg for adults
  • The BSDA code of practice is supported by the following brands; Red Bull, Monster, Relentless, Rockstar
  • Further information can be found on our FAQ’s page

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