Visit any first, middle or high school in Morpeth and you will struggle to find any Coca Cola products for sale, either at lunch or break times, or available in vending machines, as schools do their very best to continue to deliver a Government-driven healthy eating and living agenda.
However, visit Morpeth town centre last week and you would have found one of the world’s most high profile global brands given carte blanche to promote its controversial wares via a largely spurious connection with Christmas. How is this permissible?
Nationally, the health service is facing a crisis in both obesity, especially amongst young people, and diabetes.
It is no coincidence then that this year several major centres, such as Liverpool and Carlisle, have refused to participate in the Coca Cola truck promotion, and there have been protests against it elsewhere.
Public Health England has expressed concern over ‘the impact seasonal marketing promotions can have on diet-related diseases’.
It was a shocking sight in Morpeth, therefore, to see so many children – some of even pre-school age – queuing to be given free samples of Coca Cola and encouraged to think that there was some connection with the Christmas festival.
We wouldn’t think it acceptable for tobacco companies to hand out free samples today so why is it ok for Coca Cola to do so?
Perhaps those who made the decision to accommodate it could tell us what arrangements were made with Coca Cola to allow it to peddle its products in this fashion.
Like many others I have spoken to in Morpeth, I hope this is the last time we have this disgrace foisted upon us.
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