Coca-Cola Brasil, AMBEV, and PepsiCO Brasil will no longer sell soft drinks to schools where the majority of students are under 12 years of age. The companies agreed to limit their sales to mineral water, 100%-natural juice, coconut water, and milk-based beverages in compliance with specific nutritional criteria, with a focus on hydration and nutrition.
The decision was announced Wednesday (Jun. 22) and will be brought into effect in August. In a note, the three companies describe obesity as a “complex problem,” and acknowledge their role as part of the solution.
According to the communication, “the new portfolio is based on guidelines devised by international beverage associations. New products launched by the companies may be included in the future, in observance of those guidelines.”
For the new portfolio, the companies decided that children up to the age of 12 are too young to make consumption decisions of their own, which is why manufacturers should help build an environment which encourages the appropriate choices.
The policy will affect all school cafeterias buying directly from manufacturers and their distributors. As for those with other sources, like supermarkets, wholesale stores, and awareness-raising initiatives will be launched whereby all will be encouraged to subscribe to the decision.
Simone Rocha, president of the Federal District Association of Nutritionists, hailed the change as positive and says it is in compliance with national talks, which point towards the prohibition of soft drinks in both public and private schools. In some states, like Paraíba, the sale of such beverages is forbidden by law in public and private schools. A number of schools across the country have also adopted the measure.
Simone Rocha describes soft drinks as “empty calories,” with no nutrients and the addition of preservatives, colorants, and other harmful components. “The daily consumption of soft drinks may lead to obesity, a decrease in the absorption of calcium, which can damage your bone health,” she explained.
Rocha added that not finding the product available on a daily basis makes an impact on children's future eating habits. “If there's no access to it, children won't see it as common. They'll choose to drink it on festive occasions. If it's available everyday, they treat it as natural and think it's harmless,” she concluded.
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira
Fonte: Agência Brasil.