herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Pepsi takes its sugary drinks out of schools

WORLD BAN: Child obesity move

Pepsi is removing its sugary drinks from schools all over the world following the success of programmes aimed at cutting down on childhood obesity.

The company said it would remove full-calorie, sweetened drinks from schools in more than 200 countries by 2012, marking the first such move by a major soft drink producer.

Both PepsiCo, the world's second-biggest soft drink maker, and No1 player Coca-Cola adopted guidelines to stop selling sugary drinks in US schools in 2006.

The World Heart Federation has been negotiating with soft drink makers to have them remove sugary drinks from schools for the past year as it looks to fight a rise in childhood obesity, which can lead to diabetes, heart problems and other ailments.

Pekka Puska, president of the global federation of heart associations, said PepsiCo's move was what the group had been seeking because it affected students up to the age of 18.

He said he hoped other companies felt under pressure to make similar moves.

"It may be not so well known in the US how intensive the marketing of soft drinks is in so many countries," Puska said in an interview from Finland. He added that developing countries such as Mexico were particularly affected by this strong marketing.

Coca-Cola changed its global sales policy this month to say it would not sell any of its drinks worldwide in primary schools unless parents or school districts asked. The policy does not apply to secondary schools. The World Heart Federation wants all drinks with added sugars removed from schools with children aged up to 18.

Coca-Cola said, in a statement when asked if it would expand its policy to secondary schools, that it believed authorities "should have the right to choose what is best for their schools".



BOTTLERS

PepsiCo's policy requires co-operation from its bottlers, vending companies and other distributors who take the company's products to schools worldwide.

The company said it did not have exact figures for sales in schools around the world but said they did not make up a major portion of sales.

In primary schools, PepsiCo will sell only water, fat-free or low-fat milk, and juice with no added sugar. In secondary schools, it will sell those drinks along with low-calorie soft drinks, such as Diet Pepsi.

jlast@herald.ie

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