Set an example

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It’s been interesting reading various articles recently from Asda, Aldi and Co-op, stating they will voluntarily restrict the sale of energy drinks to children. My first thought was that we’ve been doing this for years, along with many other responsible independents.

The dangers of artificial sweeteners, caffeine and high levels of taurine and B vitamins in a child’s system surely shouldn’t be encouraged, but should they be legislated?

There are shops on every street that have no morals; they will sell anything to children to make a living, whether they are trading on the right side of the law or not. But there is also a blossoming market for illicit and age-restricted goods to change hands on market stalls, garden sheds and car boots.

Legislation is easy when you’re targeting retailers who make an honest living, have a valuable reputation to uphold and have the community’s best interests at heart, which I firmly believe is the majority in the retail sector.

Education should never be undervalued when it comes to the health and wellbeing of our future generation. Parents, teachers, politicians and even retailers are invaluable when it comes to teaching kids the importance of making the right choices. Legislation makes a product more appealing, piquing the curiosity of children when they’re told they can’t have something.

Legislation has its place in society, but so too does care and responsibility. As retailers, we need to make it clear what our policies are and take comfort in the fact that where independent retailers lead, supermarkets will follow. What none of us need is more red tape.

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