Photo via Wikimedia Commons
It’s been mere weeks since UK-based supermarket chain Waitrose announced that it would bar anyone under the age of 16 from purchasing energy drinks starting in March. Waitrose’s justification was that the boatloads of caffeine and sugar you tend to find in these drinks, uh, aren't exactly ideal for minors.Two other major retailers in the United Kingdom are now following suit, the Guardian reported on Friday, with bans set to take effect in March.
ASDA and Aldi will impose a ban on any energy drinks for customers under the age of 16, demanding they show identification before attempting to make their purchases. There are 84 drinks on the ban list for for ASDA, while Aldi will implement this ban for all energy drinks that contain over 150 milligrams of caffeine.
“We are introducing this age restriction in response to growing concern about the consumption of energy drinks among young people,” Oliver King, Aldi's Managing Director of Corporate Responsibility, wrote in a short email to MUNCHIES on Friday. An ASDA spokesperson echoed these claims in a statement provided to MUNCHIES, saying that the chain was responding to increasing public pressure to limit teens' access to energy drinks.“We take our responsibilities as a retailer seriously and work hard to ensure we get the balance right between offering choice and doing the right thing,” Andrew Murray, ASDA's Chief Customer Officer, said in the statement. “We have listened to our customers and want to take a leading position in this area to support parents and teachers in limiting young people’s access to high caffeine drinks.”
It’s been a particularly anxious moment for energy drink producers as of late over in the United Kingdom, where there’s been mounting frustration over continued access to energy drinks for minors.
Shortly after Waitrose's announcement, as the BBC reported, M.P. Maria Caulfield pleaded with Theresa May to consider a ban on all energy drinks for all consumers under 16. Caulfield had cited the suicide of a 25-year-old man whose anxiety Caulfield claimed his family attributed in part to his consumption of over 15 cans of energy drinks a day.The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (or NASUWT), a labor union, has also recommended that the government impose stricter guidelines that prevent access to energy drinks for teens. The union embraced Waitrose's directive earlier this month, claiming that dependence on energy drinks leads to bad behavior from students. The NASUWT did not respond to immediate request for comment from MUNCHIES on Friday regarding ASDA and Aldi's resolutions.
Chef Jamie Oliver, who's has been particularly vocal in his stance against energy drinks, took the news quite well. “YEAASSSSSS!” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday in response to ASDA's announcement. Oliver did not respond to immediate request for further comment from MUNCHIES on Friday.Anyway, teens, have a milkshake or some water or something.