Supermarket cuts back on selling sugary drinks to schoolkids

  • 22/10/2017

Anti-sugar activists are applauding a Nelson supermarket for restricting the sale of fizzy drinks to school children.

Fresh Choice Richmond has taken a stand by not allowing students in school uniform to buy soft drinks, flavoured milk or juice before and during class time.

Gerhard Sundborn from anti-sugar campaign group FIZZ says it's a great initiative.

"They're harmful to kids, and they shouldn't be sold to them, really. It's something that could happen not only in supermarkets, but other dairies and retailers close to schools."

Mr Sundborn says there just needs to be other options.

"Sugar is everywhere. Sugary drinks are the largest contributor and they are dirt cheap - there's no real healthy choice that's easily accessible. An initiative like this is a step in the right direction."

In February, a number of dairies in Taranaki stopped selling sugar-filled drinks to kids, one owner calling himself a "sugar sheriff".

"Most parents understand what I'm doing because they want their kids to have a good education at school and have good health," Hui Vhang told The Project.

Dentists have also called for restrictions on sugary drinks - they not only contribute to obesity, but tooth decay.

"I've seen some shocking cases. It's heartbreaking taking teeth out from young kids, some as young as nappies," Rob Beaglehole, spokesperson for the NZ Dental Association, told Newshub in June.

Mr Sundborn compared Fresh Choice Richmond's move to the Countdown's recent announcement it would phase out use of plastic bags.

"Some supermarkets are making a stand against plastic bags - the same thing could happen with sugary drinks. With one taking the lead, other supermarkets could follow."

The National-led Government repeatedly refused to introduce a 'sugar tax', drawing condemnation from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

The parties that make up the incoming Government have different policies on sugar. NZ First doesn't support a tax, but has said it is open to changing its policy if overseas evidence proved it worked.

The Greens support a tax, while Labour wants to reduce added sugars in processed foods, but not necessarily hit it with a tax.