Energy Drink Age Restrictions Not Necessary

3 September 2018

Responding to the United Kingdom Government’s decision to consult on age restrictions for energy drinks, the New Zealand Beverage Council says any similar restrictions on energy drinks in New Zealand would be a heavy-handed regulatory response for an issue that does not exist in this country.

Council spokesperson Stephen Jones says New Zealand already has some of the strongest energy drink regulations in the world and the evidence shows these regulations are working well.

 “Independent research from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand shows that energy drinks contribute less than three percent of the overall caffeine intake of young people aged between 9 and 15,” says Mr Jones.

 “This low-level of consumption is evidence that the existing framework around the sale and marketing of energy drinks is effective and that young people are consuming caffeine from sources other than energy drinks.

 “Labelling regulations in New Zealand also require energy drinks to display a caffeine content warning as well as an advisory statement that energy drinks are not recommended for young people.

 “In addition, it is important to remember that the ingredients in energy drinks have been proven to be safe and have been approved by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand. But, like all beverages containing caffeine they should be consumed in moderation.

 “This is particularly the case for young people, which is why New Zealand Beverage Council members have committed to not market to those under-16 and to not sell energy drinks directly to schools.

“While it is laudable that some nutritional advocates are focussing on young people’s caffeine intake, it makes little sense to put in place restrictions targeting a single product that contributes less than three percent of a young person’s caffeine intake.

 “A wide range of products contain caffeine and instead of focusing on energy drinks, we should focus on understanding how and why children are accessing caffeine and what we can all do to better educate consumers about the caffeine content across all food categories.”