Countdown cuts off kids’ access to energy drinks

Countdown’s implemented its energy drink age-restrictions on Tuesday, in an effort to curb the growing obesity rate in New Zealand.

Customers will now need to produce ID to prove they are over the age of 16 in order to purchase energy drinks across Countdown’s 180 stores.

According to Countdown general manager of corporate affairs, safety and sustainability Kiri Hannifin, support for the initiative has been overwhelmingly positive since it was announced in June.

“We have had incredible feedback from parents, teachers, health workers and our customers about our decision. I think New Zealanders were ready for this discussion around energy drinks,” Hannifin said.

“We made our decision after engaging with health and education leaders, but also in talking with our team, many of whom are parents themselves.

“Across the board we found communities of people who are seeking help to address New Zealand’s high child obesity rates.”

New Zealand’s has the third highest obesity rate in the OECD.

Public health advocate Dr Lance O’Sullivan said reducing children’s access to energy drinks is a step in the right direction.

“Children don’t understand either the short or longer-term consequences of consuming drinks with high amounts of sugar and caffeine, and sometimes we need to step in until they are are old enough to make that decision for themselves,” O’Sullivan said.

The New Zealand Beverage Council spokesperson Stephen Jones said in June while he respected the right of Countdown to make this decision, New Zealand already has some of the strongest energy drink regulations in the world.

“This is really a case of a solution looking for a problem,” Jones said.


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