Looking back on 2018, energy drinks is an issue that has come up time and again in the national media and as a concern for our members.

The focus of concern has revolved around the sale of energy drinks to children and the products in question here are those with more than 150mg of caffeine per litre.

So where has this debate got to? First, the government is consulting on banning the sale of energy drinks to children, a proposal that could provide clarity for retailers and consumers.

Given the support by a number of organisations, spearheaded by Jamie Oliver, it looked like smooth sailing, but then we’ve just had a report from the Science and Technology Select Committee saying there is insufficient scientific evidence for such a mandatory ban.

Despite this, I expect the government will press ahead with a statutory ban, but in the meantime many retailers are implementing their own policies. Our research has found that more than half of c-stores don’t sell energy drinks to under-16s, while some have variations of that.

Should you adopt such a policy for your store, or extend your current approach? Start answering this question by listening to local people and influencers, notably teachers and parents. What you need is a workable policy that your colleagues feel comfortable implementing, and to have maintained and built your reputation with the local community. Let us know if we can help you to achieve this.

Look out for more political debate on this in 2019, but let ACS worry about the government and MPs, and keep your focus on your local community.