Companies producing sweets and soft drinks have been accused of misleading consumers about the amount of sugar in their products and using the Internet as a loophole to advertise to children.
The makers of Chupa Chups lollipops, Nutella, Coca-Cola, Britvic and even the British Soft Drinks Association have been reported to the Advertising Standards Authority for allegedly targeting children with ‘half-truths’.
In a poll by the Children’s Food Campaign, Chupa Chups was voted the worst offender for a video on its website suggesting its yellow lollipops are made only from real lemon juice. In fact, they contain just 3 per cent fruit and are mostly made of sugar and glucose syrup, according to the label.
Kawther Hashem of the Children’s Food Campaign said: ‘It is unforgivable that junk food companies relentlessly target children, but also shamelessly mislead the public with half-truths and made-up so-called facts.’
She urged the Government to protect children with ‘consistent advertising regulations and vigorous enforcement across all forms of media’.
In a statement, the British Soft Drinks Association described the complaint by the Children’s Food Campaign as “completely unfounded”.
“The information they have quoted relates only to fruit juice and not, as they suggest, to the whole range of soft drinks,” the statement said. “Fruit juice is made from fruit which varies in sweetness and, under the law, a tiny amount of sugar may be added (max 15g per litre) to correct for this natural variation. The CFC should get its own facts right first before accusing anyone else.”