> UK Health Experts Call for Coca Cola’s Iconic Christmas Truck to be Banned - The Food Safety Company UK Health Experts Call for Coca Cola’s Iconic Christmas Truck to be Banned - The Food Safety Company
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    Thursday, 12 January 2017

    UK Health Experts Call for Coca Cola’s Iconic Christmas Truck to be Banned

    For years now, the annual tour of Coca Cola’s festive truck has been a staple of the Christmas period, signalling for many the beginning of the holidays. Now, amid growing concerns over the health implications of the sugar-laden beverage, public health experts in the UK are calling for the annual tour to be banned.

    Img: Oast House Archive
    Writing in the British Medical Journal, Robin Ireland, director of the Food Active campaign against rising obesity levels, and John Ashton, a public health consultant in Liverpool, argued that Coca-Cola was “intent on shaping public opinion through its marketing techniques” in order to “frame the debate around healthy weight.” They argue that this poses a serious risk the children’s health, as a single can of Coca Cola contains an absurd amount of sugar; seven teaspoons in fact, according to Coca Cola’s own website.

    Ashton and Ireland’s article in the BMJ states, “At Christmas, Coca-Cola’s marketing goes into overdrive as newspapers across the country regurgitate press releases for its Christmas truck tour, with advertorials promoting the truck as a Christmas tradition. And of course the truck is just the latest of Coca-Cola’s campaigns to become a holiday brand and, indeed, to help brand Santa Claus himself.

    “This Christmas the truck visited five locations in north west England in the first week of December: two in Greater Manchester plus Lancaster, Liverpool, and St Helens.

    “With figures showing that 33.8 per cent of 10 to 11-year-olds in the north-west are overweight or obese and that 33.4 per cent of five-years-olds have tooth decay, many public health departments have used their ever-squeezed budgets to launch campaigns about sugary drinks to try to help their communities reduce their consumption. So Coca-Cola’s campaign was scarcely welcomed by local directors of public health, medical professionals, educationalists, or indeed members of the public.”

    Damning words indeed, and the author’s aren’t alone in voicing their displeasure and concern. Five public health directors and members of the Faculty of Public Health are among those who recently signed a letter entitled, “We can celebrate without allowing Coca-Cola to hijack Christmas by bringing false gifts of bad teeth and weight problems to our children.”

    Unfortunately, the experts involved told The Sun that their letter had received little-to-no media coverage. They told the newspaper, “Apparently Coca-Cola’s voice counts more than those of directors of public health.

    “Should this form of advertising and marketing be banned, given the growing evidence of the effect that marketing of unhealthy food and drink has on children?

    “We believe it should and will continue to push for national action from organisations such as Public Health England to stop similar campaigns next Christmas.”

    Sam Bonson

    Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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