So, Lucozade have become the first energy drink to put an official age warning on their energy drinks bottles. Bottles of Lucozade Alert Plus, which initially came with the same ‘Not suitable for children’ warning as rival products from Red Bull and Relentless (among many others), will now say ‘Not suitable for under-16s’.
A small change admittedly, but a big one for the brand, retailers and the category as a whole. The message will be communicated on the bottles and on PoS material as well as through the trade press and on all advertising.
Alex Saunders, brand manager for Lucozade Alert Plus said that change is being made as part of the brand’s “commitment to giving retailers clear advice about how to make the most of the energy shots sales opportunity and guidance on who energy shots should be sold to.”
I’d spoken to retailers who were asking for clearer advice than the ‘not suitable for children’ message, and Lucozade are the first brand to deliver.
Will others follow suit? This week it was revealed that brands are trying to draw up a voluntary code of practice to help fend off anticipated Government interventions regarding the legality of selling the products to children. This code, however, will only retain the ‘Not suitable for children’ message – and not ask for an age limit to be put on all bottles.
Lucozade’s decision could help to make the lives of retailers selling the products much easier. It does, however, open up the prospect of retailers being investigated if children under 16 do happen to get hold of these energy shots. With the introduction of this message Lucozade are relieving themselves of the burden of responsibility – only to inadvertently shift it onto retailers instead. It’s a step in the right direction – but it needs more to fully assuage retailer fears, I think.