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Coca Cola 'should stop handing out free sugary drinks' in Croydon on Christmas truck tour; The Coca Cola Christmas truck is at Valley Retail Park, off Purley Way, this weekend.

Byline: Sam Truelove

Croydon Council is supporting a campaign calling on Coca Cola to stop handing out free sugary drinks as part of its Christmas truck tour this year.

The festive illuminated red lorry is stationed at Valley Retail Park, off Purley Way, this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, December 15 and 16)and thousands of people are expected to visit.

As part of tour around the country, of which Croydon is the last stop, visitors are given a free 150ml can of Coca Cola zero sugar, Diet Coke or Coca Cola Original Taste.

But Sugar Smart UK, run by food charity Sustain, has written an open letter to Coca Cola criticising the "continued promotion of sugary drinks to children, young people and the general population during the holiday season".

The letter, addressed to Jon Woods, general manager of Coca Cola Great Britain & Ireland, requests that Coca Cola stop giving away cans of Coca Cola Original Taste due to the amount of sugar it contains.

"One 150ml can of classic Coke contains over 16 grams of sugar, nearly the entire maximum daily limit for a six-year-old," the letter states.

"It's with these less than cheerful figures in mind that we ask you to stop promoting sugary drinks during the Coca Cola Christmas truck tour to the general public this year - in particular to children."

The Coca Cola truck is in Croydon this weekend - here's what to expect

The letter has so far been signed by 86 people, including directors of public health, elected members, public health advocacy organisations and local healthy eating campaign coordinators.

Rachel Flowers, director of public health at Croydon Council, is among those to have signed it and has even wrote a letter to Coca Cola herself asking for sugary drinks not to be handed out.

"Croydon is a 'sugar smart' borough, supporting residents to be aware of the adverse health risks of consuming too much sugar including the consumption of high sugar fizzy drinks," says Ms Flowers in her letter.

"Within Croydon we have developed a local campaign and as Coca Cola feels the need to come and visit Croydon for two days, I would like to suggest that we work in parallel at this event to make people aware on the day of simple sugar swaps they can do to reduce sugar in their daily diets."

The letter adds: "Sugar is the main source of excess calories in our diets and plays a key role in tooth decay, which is why reducing sugar consumption is one of my priorities.

"Please can I request that Coca Cola goes one step further and completely removes the full sugar original taste coke giveaways from any future promotions in the London Borough of Croydon, and ideally from your holiday promotions anywhere else in the UK."

In response to the Sugar Smart UK open letter, Coca Cola said it will continue to give out free cans of Coca-Cola original taste

What's happening in south London

"This annual event is something that our consumers love and enjoy, and I feel we run it in a responsible way," said Coca Cola general manager Mr Woods.

He added: "I believe the actions we have taken as a business to remove sugar from our drinks and focus our marketing on the no sugar variants of Coca Cola show we are committed to acting responsibly and playing our part in addressing some of the challenges you raise.

"For a few weeks per year thousands of consumers love and enjoy our Christmas truck tour and as long as consumers want it we will continue to run it."

The Coca Cola truck will be at Valley Retail Park between midday and 8pm on Saturday (December 15) and Sunday (December 16).

Coca Cola promise the truck will be parked up in a "glittering winter wonderland" wherever it is on its UK tour.

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The Coca-Cola truck is in Croydon this weekend

Credit: Ian Cooper

Some children love the Coca Cola Christmas truck
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Publication:Get West London (Watford, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 16, 2018
Words:666
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