Food and Drink Censors


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Sweet Little Sixteen...

Drinks range censored for appealing to children


Link Here 14th July 2019
The drink censors of the Portman Group have upheld a recent complaint about Sweet Little Drinks (Sweet Little Glitter Bubble Gum Gin Liqueur, Sweet Little Glitter Bomb Love Heartz and Sweet Little Pink Vanilla Candy Floss Gin Liqueur). The group said:

The complaint was referred to us from the Advertising Standards Authority, with concern expressed that the Sweet Little Drinks appear to promote alcohol to children through the labels, artwork, product names, the colouring and bottle shapes, along with the brand name Sweet Little.

Reviewing the products in detail, the Panel felt:

  • They may have a particular appeal to children and look like part of a children's confectionary range.
  • They could be considered to look more similar in design to a bubble bath product than an alcoholic drink, if they were placed in a home environment.
  • The face in the "Sweet Little" logo was the profile of young girl's face and conveyed the impression that the brand was not targeting an adult market.
  • The direct link to the Love Hearts sweet brand together with the Love Heart style of font used and the dark pink colour of the drink, could lead the product to appeal to teenage girls.
  • In the case of Sweet Little Glitter Bomb Bubble Gum Gin Liqueur and Glitter Bomb Love Heartz Gin Liqueur, despite containing positive alcoholic descriptors on the bottle, these were in a difficult to read font on a clear label on a glitter based product which may cause further consumer confusion as to the alcoholic nature of the product.

The Panel concluded that the cumulative impact of sweetie cues on each individual label, together with the Sweet Little brand name and logo, had unintentionally created a particular appeal to under 18s in each case. The Panel felt that Sweet Little Drinks need to make an effort to ensure that they do not cause any consumer confusion or appeal to children, by going to greater lengths when communicating their alcoholic nature. The Panel therefore accordingly upheld the complaint against the products.

 

 

Desert Island Dicks...

Health campaigners whinge about smoking and drink as featured in reality TV being seen by children on catch up TV


Link Here 19th June 2019

New research has found that reality TV programmes like Love Island , TOWIE and Geordie Shore have exposed children and young people to smoking and alcohol, partly because they're available on catch-up outside the 9pm watershed.

The study by the University of Nottingham's Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies found that reality shows contain much higher levels of tobacco and alcohol content than other primetime TV programme genres. The in-depth analysis is published in the Journal of Public Health.

The research team previously reported high levels of tobacco imagery, including branding, in the 2017 series of Love Island. However, after complaints over the level of smoking in that series, an editorial decision was made to remove smoking content. The team's new study found no tobacco content in the 2018 series of Love Island.

For this new study, the researchers measured depictions of alcohol and tobacco products on Made in Chelsea, The Only Way is Essex, Geordie Shore and Love Island and the now discontinued Celebrity Big Brother ,all airing on UK channels for a total of 112 episodes between January and August 2018. They measured the number of one-minute intervals containing tobacco and/or alcohol imagery, including actual use, implied use, tobacco or alcohol-related materials, and product-specific branding, and estimated viewer exposure to the imagery on screen.

Audience viewing figures were combined with mid-year population estimates for 2017 to estimate overall and individual impressions -- separate incidents seen -- by age group for each of the coded episodes.

Alcohol content appeared in all 112 episodes and in 2,212 one-minute intervals, or 42% of all intervals studied. 18% of intervals included actual alcohol consumption, while 34% featured inferred consumption, predominantly characters holding alcoholic drinks. The greatest number of intervals including any alcohol content occurred in Love Island. Alcohol branding occurred in 1% of intervals and was most prevalent in Geordie Shore (51 intervals, 69% of episodes). Forty brands were identified, the most common being Smirnoff vodka (23 intervals, all but one of which occurred in Geordie Shore).

Tobacco content appeared in 20 episodes, in 110 or 2% of all intervals studied. Almost all (98%) of this content occurred in a single reality TV series, Celebrity Big Brother. This included actual tobacco use, inferred tobacco use, and tobacco paraphernalia. Tobacco branding was not present.

When all the data were combined with audience viewing figures and population estimates, the researchers estimate that the 112 episodes delivered 4.9 billion overall alcohol impressions to the UK population, including 580 million to children under the age of 16, as well as 214 million overall tobacco impressions, including 47 million to children under 16.

Lead researcher on the study, Alexander Barker, from the University's Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, said:

Starting to smoke or drink alcohol at a young age is a strong predictor of dependence and continued use in later life. Recent data shows that 44% of 11 to 15-year-olds in England have had an alcoholic drink, and 19% have tried smoking.

Given that seeing alcohol or tobacco imagery in the media promotes use among young people, our study therefore identifies reality television shows as a major potential driver of alcohol and tobacco consumption in young people in the UK. Tighter scheduling rules, such as restricting the amount of content and branding shown in these programmes, could prevent children and adolescents from being exposed to the tobacco and alcohol content.

 

 

DCMS continues to legislate for a miserable life...

Advertisers slam the government over more censorship proposals to restrict TV junk food adverts and to ludicrously impose watershed requirements online


Link Here 10th June 2019
Advertisers have launched a scathing attack on the government's plans to introduce further restrictions on junk food advertising, describing them as totally disproportionate and lacking in evidence.

In submissions to a government consultation, seen exclusively by City A.M. , industry bodies Isba and the Advertising Association (AA) said the proposals would harm advertisers and consumers but would fail to tackle the issue of childhood obesity.

The government has laid out plans to introduce a 9pm watershed on adverts for products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) on TV and online .

But the advertising groups have dismissed the policy options, which were previously rejected by media regulator Ofcom, as limited in nature and speculative in understanding.

The AA said current restrictions, which have been in place since 2008, have not prevented the rise of obesity, while children's exposure to HFSS adverts has also fallen sharply over the last decade.

In addition, Isba argued a TV watershed would have a significant and overwhelming impact on adult viewers, who make up the majority of audiences before 9pm.

They also pointed to an impact assessment, published alongside the consultation, which admitted the proposed restrictions would cut just 1.7 calories per day from children's diets.

 

 

Junk politics...

Tom Watson supports call for a ban on cartoon characters on the packaging of nearly all food products


Link Here 4th June 2019
In a new survey by Action on Sugar and Action on Salt based at Queen Mary University of London, in association with Children's Food Campaign , has found half (51%) of 526 food and drink products which use cartoon animations on pack to appeal to children are unnecessarily high in fat, saturated fat, sugar and/or salt. Manufacturers and retailers are accused of deliberately manipulating children and parents into purchasing dangerously unhealthy products, which can encourage pester power and excessive consumption.

Action on Sugar, Action on Salt, Children's Food Campaign and other organisations are calling for a complete ban of such marketing tactics on unhealthy products and for compulsory traffic light nutrition labelling, giving parents the chance to make healthier choices. If marketing on children's packaging were to follow the same advertising codes as set by the Committee for Advertising Practices for broadcast advertising, half would fail the eligibility criteria and therefore would not be allowed to be advertised to audiences under the age of 16. The campaigners call for this criteria to be extended to all forms of media, and to any programme watched by a child, as is currently being discussed in the Governments latest consultation on further advertising restrictions for products high in fat, salt and sugar

Alarmingly Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party agreed with teh call for censorship saying:

This research reveals the scale of irresponsibility in the industry. We're in the midst of a child obesity crisis and companies are using cartoons to advertise their junk foods to kids. It's unacceptable. It's time we changed the rules to get these cartoons off our packs.

 

 

Ale ails...

Amsterdam brewery promises to remove hindu character from its IPA branding


Link Here 19th May 2019
Full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
Amsterdam based Friekens Brewery (Friekens Brouwerij) has apologized and removed Hindu deity Lord Ganesh's image, associated with its I.P.A beer, from its website, ins response to comments from the perennial whinger RajanZed.

Friekens Brewery wrote:

We would like to apologise for the use of the image of Ganesh on the label of our I.P.A. beer. We never meant to offend anyone. Our apology. All reference to Ganesh and his image have been removed from our website, and we will develop a new brand identity for our I.P.A.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, thanked Friekens Brewery for understanding the concerns of Hindu community which thought image of Lord Ganesh on such a product was highly insensitive.

Rajan Zed suggested that companies should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or launching advertising campaigns.

 

 

Energy sapping Brexit...

The EU Intellectual Property Office refused a trademark for a 'Brexit' drinking claiming it would be found offensive


Link Here 17th May 2019
A pair of entrepreneurs have been refused European trademark protection for their energy drink named Brexit after an EU body labelled it offensive.

Pawel Tumilowicz and Mariusz Majchrzak had attempted to register their product Brexit with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (Euipo) after they launched the drink in October 2016.

But they were denied on the grounds that EU citizens would be deeply offended by the appropriation of the word. Euipo claimed:

Citizens across the EU would be deeply offended if the expression at issue was registered as a European Union trade mark.

The pair then appealed before Euipo's Grand Board of Appea which rejected Euipo's judgement that the word was offensive. However it ruled that Brexit could not be trademarked because it was not distinctive enough under EU law and would be confusing.

The high-caffeine drink - which is described on its website as the only reasonable solution in this situation - is branded with the Union Jack and was only named after the contentious political event for a laugh, the Telegraph reports.

 

 

Crying over Brexit...

The Portman Group bans the packaging of Unicorn Tears Gin Liqueur


Link Here 22nd April 2019

Recent complaints about three Firebox products - Unicorn Tears Gin Liqueur , Unicorn Tears Raspberry Gin Liqueur and Unicorn Tears Raspberry Gin Liqueur Miniature - have been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel.

The complainant, a member of the public, said the images on the product appealed to children. The Panel noted the illustration of the unicorn had the appearance of a child's drawing and would not be out of place as a logo on a child's toy, in a colouring book, or on an item of children's clothing. When considering the overall impression conveyed by the product, including the unicorn logo and childlike typeface, the Panel considered that the product did have a particular appeal to under 18s, and accordingly upheld the complaint.

The panel also agreed that the words Gin Liqueur and the product's ABV could have been communicated in larger text on the front of the label given that the product packaging was unconventional and was likely to have a particular appeal to under 18s. It was the view of the Panel that the product had the potential to cause consumer confusion as to its alcoholic nature and the Panel therefore did not believe that this had been communicated with absolute clarity within the spirit of the Code, particularly when considered alongside the unicorn logo, childlike typeface, sparkly pink liquid colour and cosmetic-like appearance.

Firebox is now working with the Advisory Service to amend the label on these three products.

 

 

Well lubricated...

Drinks censor dismisses complaints about the name and packaging for Neck Oil IPA


Link Here 21st April 2019
The Portman Group is a trade organisation for the UK alcoholic drinks industry. It acts as the industry's censor of drink marketing and packaging. It reports:

A recent complaint about Beavertown Brewery's product, Neck Oil , was not upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel

The complainant, a member of the public, expressed concern that the product uses bright colours and that the name Neck Oil implies that the product is to be consumed in one i.e. necked. Furthermore, the complainant said that the colours used on the packaging are clearly aimed at the younger market and encourage irresponsible consumption .

The Panel firstly considered whether the product has a particular appeal to under 18s. The Panel discussed the colour palette and illustrations on the can design and noted that muted, instead of contrasting, colours had been used and that the artwork was sophisticated, and adult in nature. The Panel concluded that there was no element of the can that could have a particular appeal to under 18s and accordingly did not uphold the complaint with regards to under 18s.

The Panel considered the company's submission and acknowledged that the phrase neck oil was widely recognised as colloquial term for beer both within and outside the industry. The Panel noted that neck was used as a noun and did not consider that its use in this way suggested a down in one style of consumption. The Panel concluded that there were no visual or text cues to encourage irresponsible or down in one consumption and accordingly did not uphold the complaint with regard to encouraging consumption.

 

 

The beer of gods...

Rajan Zed continues his world campaign against a large number of world beers that reference hinduism


Link Here 14th April 2019
Full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
Perennial whinger Rajan Zed is urging the Amsterdam micro-brewer Walhalla to withdraw its Shakti double India pale ale, calling it highly inappropriate.

He said that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt hindu devotees.

Shakti was highly venerated in Hinduism since Vedic times and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer. Zed stated that it was deeply trivializing of immensely revered Goddess to be portrayed on a beer label like this,

 

 

Cuts of meat...

Images of butchered meat are now defined as sensitive and liable to offend on Instagram


Link Here 7th March 2019
Full story: Instagram Censorship...Photo sharing website gets heavy on the censorship
A chef has criticised Instagram after it decided that a photograph she posted of two pigs' trotters and a pair of ears needed to be protected from 'sensitive' readers.

Olia Hercules, a writer and chef who regularly appears on Saturday Kitchen and Sunday Brunch , shared the photo alongside a caption in which she praised the quality and affordability of the ears and trotters before asking why the cuts had fallen out of favour with people in the UK.

However Hercules later discovered that the image had been censored by the photo-sharing app with a warning that read: Sensitive content. This photo contains sensitive content which some people may find offensive or disturbing.

Hercules hit back at the decision on Twitter, condemning Instagram and the general public for becoming detached from reality.

 

 

Updated: Rajan Zed recommends...

Hanuman beer for the Olde Salem Brewing Company


Link Here 24th February 2019
Full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
Perennial hindu whinger Rajan Zed is urging urging Salem (Virginia) based Olde Salem Brewing Company to apologize and withdraw its Hanuman (Spanish Milk Stout) beer; calling it highly inappropriate. Zed claimed that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that Lord Hanuman was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile intent. Moreover, linking Lord Hanuman with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful.

Update: Apologies

3rd March 2019. See article from rajanzed.com

Brewery owner Sean Turk, in a Company statement emailed today to Rajan Zed, wrote:

When naming our Spanish milk stout Hanuman we were unaware of the Hindu deity referenced by Rajan Zed. This name was purely a musical reference and had no other intent. We are reviewing options to address the situation206We apologize if this inadvertent association has offended anyone in anyway.

 

 

Dogged by censorship...

3 Pugs Gin censured for using a cartoon image of a pug


Link Here 10th February 2019

A complaint about 3 Pugs Gin produced by Silverback Distillers has been upheld by the drinks censors of the Portman Group.

The complainant, a member of the public, believed that the product was aimed at an under-18's audience. The complaint was upheld under Code rule 3.2(h), which states that a drink, its packaging and any promotional material should not in any direct or indirect way have a particular appeal to under-18s.

The Panel considered the overall packaging of the product. They concluded that the use of the descriptor pugalicious, description of the bubblegum flavour on the labelling and the fact that the product was a pink coloured gin were not in themselves problematic. However, the Panel felt that when these factors were considered alongside the depiction of the dogs as cartoon pugs in a hot air balloon overlooking a Willy Wonka-like sweet land across a pink liquid, then it was likely to have a particular appeal to under-18s.

A Portman Group spokesperson commented: This decision once again highlights that producers should steer clear of references and imagery related to childhood and childhood memories. They should think carefully about what is conveyed by the overall impression of the product and speak to our advisory service if in any doubt.

 

 

Rajan Zed recommends...

Govinda beer from Cheshire Brewhouse


Link Here 9th December 2018
Full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
Perennial whinger Rajan Zed writes:

Upset Hindus are urging Congleton (Cheshire, England) based microbrewery Cheshire Brewhouse to apologize and re-name and re-label its two Govinda beers carrying sacred Hindu symbol Om; calling it highly inappropriate.

Rajan Zed said that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Moreover, linking Lord Krishna with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful.

In Hinduism, Om, the mystical syllable containing the universe, is used to introduce and conclude religious work.

Single bottle of these objectionable beers, Govinda Organic Plumage Archer (ABV 6.4%) and Govinda 'Chevallier' Edition (ABV 6.8%), both Heritage India Pale Ales, is priced at 5 each. This awards-winning artisan craft brewery, established in 2012, whose tagline is Craft Beer From Cheshire That's Far From Plain; besides a taproom, also sells beer online. It claims to use animal-free process and Shane Swindells is the Head Brewer.

Update: The inevitable apology

7th January 2019. See  article from rajanzed.com

Cheshire Brewhouse has inevitably apologized and agreed to remove the Hindu symbol Om from its beer labels after Hindus protested, claiming it to be highly inappropriate.

Shane Swindells, Head Brewer and Owner of The Cheshire Brewhouse, in an email to Hindu whinger Rajan Zed who initiated the protest, wrote:

I now understand the Offence caused by Using the OM on our labels, & will therefore remove this from our beer labels, on all future runs. Please accept my humble apology, not offence was ever intended.

 

 

Potent regulation...

HappyDown cocktails censured for lack of clarity about alcoholic content


Link Here 11th November 2018

A complaint about HappyDown sparkling cocktails has been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel for failing to clearly communicate their alcoholic content.

The complainant, a member of the public, believed that the cartoon imagery used on the cans could appeal to children. The Panel did not believe that it did appeal to children but did raise concerns that the cues describing it as alcoholic were not immediately obvious. The Panel concluded that the alcoholic nature of the drink was not clearly communicated and accordingly found the product in breach of Code rule 3.1.

HappyDown's producer, Tipple Brands Limited, will work with the Advisory Service to address the issues raised.

John Timothy, Secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel, commented, Alcoholic content needs to be conveyed clearly. Producers need to ask themselves if there is any other messaging or design on their product which could undermine this clarity.

 

 

Updated: Easy Offence...

PC doesn't get much more crazy than a drinks censor banning great artwork by Ralph Steadman over the ludicrous claim that it encourages immoderate drinking


Link Here 16th October 2018
Index on Censorship is standing with our free speech friends at Flying Dog Brewery who've just been told by the UK drinks censor that they should stop selling one of the beers because the artwork by award-winning artist Ralph Steadman might encourage immoderate drinking.

Flying Dog was told that the Portman Group deemed the artwork for its Easy IPA Session India Pale Ale could spur people to drink irresponsibly.

indexoncensorship commented:

We think this is nonsense and are pleased Flying Dog plans to ignore this ruling.

The press release sent by Flying Dog Brewery is below:

Flying Dog Brewery Will Not Comply with Regulatory Group's Ruling on Easy IPA

Flying Dog Brewery has been defending free speech and creative expression in the United States for more than 25 years. Now, it's taking a stand in the United Kingdom.

In May 2018, the Portman Group, a third-party organization that evaluates alcohol-related marketing, allegedly received a single complaint from a person who thought that Flying Dog's Easy IPA Session India Pale Ale could be mistaken for a soft drink.

After months of deliberation, the Portman Group issued a final ruling, claiming that the packaging artwork ...directly or indirectly encourages illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption, such as binge drinking, drunkenness or drunk-driving. It will be issuing a Retailer Alert Bulletin on 15 October, which will ask retailers not to place orders for the beer.

Notwithstanding the Portman Group's ruling, Flying Dog has decided to continue to distribute Easy IPA in the United Kingdom.

Jim Caruso, Flying Dog CEO said:

Not surprisingly, the alleged complaint -- by a sole individual -- that a product labeled 'Easy IPA Session India Pale Ale' might be mistaken for a soft drink was, we believe, correctly dismissed by the Portman Group,  That should have been the end of it. However, the Portman Group then went on to ban the creative and carefree Easy IPA label art by the internationally-renowned UK artist Ralph Steadman.

Steadman has illustrated all of Flying Dog's labels since 1995. In the ruling, the Portman Group claims that the artwork of this low-ABV beer could be seen as encouraging drunkenness.

Without question, over-consumption, binge drinking and drunk-driving are serious health and public safety issues, and Flying Dog has always advocated for moderation and responsible social drinking, Caruso said. At the same time, there is no evidence to suggest that the whimsical Ralph Steadman art on the Easy IPA label causes any of those problems. We believe that British adults can think for themselves and Flying Dog, an independent U.S. craft brewer, will not honor the Portman Group's request to discontinue shipping Easy IPA to the UK.

Update: The drink censor's case

16th October 2018. See article from portmangroup.org.uk

The drinks censors of the Portman Group tried to justify their ban in their summary release:

A complaint about Easy IPA has been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel.

The complainant, a member of the public, believed that the drink, which is produced by Flying Dog Brewery, appealed to under 18s. While the Panel concluded that the product did not have direct appeal to under-18s, the Panel investigated whether the product packaging encouraged immoderate consumption.

The Panel noted that the front of the can contained the terms Easy IPA, and Session IPA, which is a commonly used descriptor in the craft beer category. However, they also noted that the original meaning of the phrase was a prolonged drinking session. Although the Panel did not consider these terms to be problematic if used in the right context, when used alongside an image of an inebriated looking creature balancing on one leg presented an indication of drunkenness. Accordingly, Panel upheld the decision.

John Timothy, Secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel, commented: We are disappointed that Flying Dog Brewery do not appear to respect the decision or the process. Producers need to be extremely sensitive about the overall impact of their labelling. Use of a phrase that could have been innocuous on its own has taken on a different meaning when considered alongside a drunken looking character.

 

 

Don't tell your doctor anything lest it be used against you...

British Government proposes Orwellian scheme to connect up people's health records with data snooped from their social media use to nag them about their health


Link Here 8th October 2018

People's medical records will be combined with social and smartphone surveillance to predict who will pick up bad habits and stop them getting ill, under radical government proposals.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, is planning a system of predictive prevention, in which algorithms will trawl data on individuals to send targeted health nags to those flagged as having propensities to health problems, such as taking up smoking or becoming obese.

The creepy plans have already attracted privacy concerns among doctors and campaigners, who say that the project risks backfiring by scaring people or being seen to be abusing public trust in NHS handling of sensitive information.

 

 

Offsite Article: Reams of paper and many man hours...


Link Here 19th September 2018
ASA bans advertising for confectionary on all media where more than 25% of viewers are kids

See article from asa.org.uk

 

 

Offsite Article: It seems a good idea to me, one can spot the restaurants only offering small portions...


Link Here 15th September 2018
Down with compulsory calorie@counting! Now the government wants to lecture us when we eat out. BY Steve Bremner

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Commented: Allergies are nothing to be sneezed at...

Allergy UK recommends the new children's movie Peter Rabbit


Link Here 16th February 2018
Peter Rabbit is a 2018 UK / Australia / USA family animation comedy by Will Gluck.
Starring Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie and Elizabeth Debicki. IMDb

Feature adaptation of Beatrix Potter's classic tale of a rebellious rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer's vegetable garden.

Filmmakers behind a new adaptation of Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit have been forced to apologise after facing calls for it to be banned from cinemas over a scene in which the protagonist and his furry friends deliberately pelt an allergic man with blackberries.

Allergy UK claimed the film mocks allergy sufferers and trivialises a life-threatening condition. Carla Jones, the charity's chief executive, said:

Anaphylaxis can and does kill. To include a scene in a children's film that includes a serious allergic reaction and not to do it responsibly is unacceptable. Mocking allergic disease shows a complete lack of understanding of the seriousness of allergy and trivialises the challenges faced by those with this condition. We will be communicating with the production company about the film's withdrawal.

Sony Pictures on Sunday night admitted it should not have made light of Mr McGregor being allergic to blackberries and said it regretted not being more aware and sensitive of the issue.

Peter Rabbit will be show in cinemas in March. It is PG rated for mild threat, comic violence.

Update: Peter Rabbit falls to the outrage mob

16th February 2018. See article from spiked-online.com by Candice Holdsworthwriter

The zealotry of today's censors knows no bounds.

The perpetually outraged have found their latest target. This time, they have decided that a film adaptation of Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit is beyond the pale.

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Is making people poorer good for their health?...

Food censors whinge about Meal Deals diminishing the effectiveness of the nanny tex on sugary drinks


Link Here 12th February 2018
UK food censors are whingeing about people's 'Meal Deals' because they claim the promotion will diminish the effectiveness of the government's new nanny tax on sugary drinks.

Carol Williams, Principal Lecturer: Health Promotion and Public Health, University of Brighton explains:

From April, the UK government's sugar tax will make 500ml bottles of high-sugar drinks cost an extra 14p, and two litre bottles an extra 58p. The higher price is intended to steer people towards choosing lower-sugar drinks. But promotions, such as meal deals, could make the sugar tax meaningless by negating the price difference.

The drinks industry says the size and scale of the sugar-tax bill is too much for them to absorb, so they will pass the cost on to retailers. Retailers are likely to do the same and pass the cost onto consumers. This is what Public Health England intended; high-sugar drinks should cost more to make them less attractive to buy. But the tax may have an unintended consequence on drinks purchased in meal deals, which typically include a sandwich, a snack and a drink.

Our research with students (aged 16-19 and 19-24) found that they decided what to buy in a meal deal based on price and getting a bargain. Students tend to choose the most expensive drink in order to maximise the cost benefit of the deal, even though they are often aware of the health aspects.  When the sugar tax comes into force and full-sugar drinks cost more, this may create a perverse incentive because choosing the more expensive drink will increase the relative discount/cost effectiveness achieved by buying a meal deal.

Now it is over to retailers and other drinks outlets to act in the spirit of the sugar tax by passing the higher price on to consumers and keeping a price difference between high- and low-sugar drinks. For meal deals, there are three options: add the sugar tax to the price of the meal deal when a full-sugar drink is chosen, take sugary drinks that are taxed out of the meal deal, or do nothing and risk encouraging people to choose the full-sugar version, undermining everything PHE is trying to achieve.

 

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