Waitrose is to ban the sale of energy drinks to under 16s, several years after independent shops began to introduce similar restrictions.

The ban will come into effect from March 5 and follows a campaign by teachers’ union NASUWT to prevent children from consuming high
caffeine drinks.

Independent local shop owners were quick to point out that Waitrose, and other multiples, have been slow
to respond. 

Anita Nye, from Eldred Drive Stores (Premier) in Kent, said: “We introduced a 16-plus age limit about two years ago when we noticed junior school children trying to buy them.”

Mike Howe of Mills & Son Londis in Exeter, said: “A restriction is easy for shops to put in place through the tills, it’s just like cigarettes.”

Waitrose’s ban will apply to drinks with more than 15mg of caffeine per 100ml. Lucozade has 12.1mg, Red Bull has 32mg and a cup of coffee has 40mg.

Commons Science and Technology Committee chair Norman Lamb said he is considering making age restrictions mandatory, but not all retailers are in favour of the measure. 

“It’s best left to parents to educate their children,” said Jacqui Dales owner of Spar London Road Bakery.