Posted: Thu 15th Nov 2018

Campaigners call on Coca Cola to stop handing out ‘full fat’ coke on truck tour which hits Deeside in December

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Nov 15th, 2018

Campaigners have called on a soft drinks maker to only hand out sugar-free drinks during its nationwide Christmas marketing tour which comes to Deeside next month.

Coca Cola’s ‘iconic’ red truck will park up on Asda supermarket car park in Queensferry on December 11, cans of cola will be handed out to the large crowds expected.

The soft drinks firm has scaled back the number of destinations it will visits from 38 in 2017 to 24 this year due to opposition from health campaigners according to reports.

A letter has been signed by nearly 100 organisations and campaigners including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Baroness Boycott, Directors of Public Health and a number of local councils including Chester West and Cheshire.

The opposition is being coordinated by Sustain’s Sugar Smart campaign, the letter states:

“We write to you to express our deep concern over the Coca-Cola’s company’s continued promotion of sugary drinks to children, young people and the general population during the holiday season.

At a time when childhood obesity rates have reached record highs, such promotional tactics are not just in poor taste – they urgently need to be brought to a halt.”

Supporters of the campaign are requesting Coca-Cola change its current Christmas truck tour promotional strategy by stopping the free distribution of Coca-Cola original taste.

The letter goes on to say:

“Childhood obesity figures have again risen this year and show no signs of slowing down.

The latest figures reveal that almost one in four children are overweight or obese when they start primary school and over one in three by the time they leave primary school.

If we don’t take drastic action, half of all UK children will be overweight or obese by 2020.”

Coca-Cola said it is not planning to stop handing out regular cola during the truck tour “this annual event is something that our consumers love and enjoy, and I feel we run it in a responsible way.” the company said.

General Manager of Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland Jon Woods said:

“I believe the actions we have taken as a business to remove sugar from our drinks and focus our marketing on the no sugar variants of Coca-Cola show we are committed to acting responsibly and playing our part in addressing some of the challenges you raise.

For a few weeks per year thousands of consumers love and enjoy our Christmas truck tour and as long as consumers want it we will continue to run it.”

Coca-Cola says latest data from the National Diet & Nutrition Survey (2016) show that soft drinks now make up just 3% of daily calories for adults, 4% for teenagers and 2% for children.

Despite this obesity rates have continued to rise.

Almost a third of children in North Wales are overweight when they start school according to a report published earlier this year by Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board.

Figures show that 28.6% of children aged four to five in North Wales have been found to be overweight when they are starting school.

With many of them having weight issues that have a negative effect on their health, 12.3% of school starters being classed as obese.

The numbers for obese children in North Wales are above the average in England where 9.6% of children in reception classes were found to be obese last year.

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