Coca-Cola has recently announced that it will be lowering the number of stops it makes on its annual Christmas tour in the UK. The tour started in 1995 and hands out free cans of coke in towns and cities. But, after receiving a lot of criticism from health campaigners this year, the tour will only visit 24 cities, which is down from 38 in the previous year.
As part of the tour, which started on the 9th November, local councils will also host events, as will “other landowners as part of their Christmas festivities.”The opposition to the tour has been led by the health charity Sustain. The charity has held protests in some UK cities including Waltham Forest, Plymouth, Bristol, and Glasgow.
This follows Public Health England guidance to local councils, which warn against “the impact seasonal marketing promotions can have on diet-related diseases.” Additionally, over 100 campaigners and health groups have signed a letter which calls for Coca-Cola to only give away sugar-free drinks on the tour. A can of regular Coke contains around 35g of sugar. This is the recommended daily intake for adults and children over the age of 11. Smaller cans are handed out during the tour.
Sustain also pointed out that on this year’s tour, the truck is visiting areas that have a higher than average number of people with diet-related health issues. It said that: “14 of the 19 stops in England have above average prevalence of excess weight amongst 10-11 years olds.” Furthermore, campaigners are calling for supermarket chains like Tesco and Asda to stop hosting the truck on its tour.
However, Coca-Cola argues that 90% of the drinks distributed during the tour this year will be zero sugar alternatives. Jon Woods, general manager of Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland, said in a statement:”For a few weeks per year thousands of consumers love and enjoy our Christmas truck tour and as long as consumers want it we will continue to run it.”