Sheffield should reject Christmas Coca-Cola truck, says health expert

The Coca Cola truck is coming...
The Coca Cola truck is coming...
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Sheffield has been urged to reject the Coca Cola truck next month amid concerns over health issues and marketing to children.

The iconic red lorry, made famous in the ‘Holidays are coming!’ Christmas advertising campaign, is due to come to Sheffield in December.

Dr Stuart Flint, a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre of Sport and Exercise Sciences, has called on the city to follow Leicester’s lead and say no to Coca-Cola.

“Coca Cola’s marketing policy says they would not market to under 12 year olds, and whilst the company have apparently said they are not going to give any drinks to children under 12, they are still violating their marketing policy as this is not just about giving drinks out.

“Through association, Coca Cola are clearly using Christmas as a means to market to children. Therefore, children will develop a positive attitude towards Coca-Cola and their products as an association between the excitement associated with Christmas and Coca-Cola.

Dr Flint suggested sugary drinks could be legislated by Government in the same way as tobacco and alcohol, including banning the sale of sugary drinks to under-16s.

Dr Flint added: “I think Sheffield should reject the Coca-Cola truck.

“If we are really serious about promoting healthy lifestyles, this is what we have to do.”

A Coca-Cola Great Britain spokesperson said: “The Coca-Cola Christmas truck tour provides a moment of fun for the family in the build-up to Christmas and we’ve had a positive response from people up and down the country.

“We’re looking forward to meeting the community in Sheffield, who will be able to see the truck up close and have their photograph taken.

“All four variants of Coca-Cola will be available to enjoy in small 150ml cans, including Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero, our no sugar options. Our Christmas truck tour operates in line with our responsible marketing policy and will therefore not be providing drinks to under 12s unless their parent or guardian is happy for us to do so.”