The Co-operative Group and Tesco have joined all the major supermarkets and German discounters in announcing a ban on the sale of energy drinks to under-16s from early March.
The age restriction, which will apply to 39 products containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre, will come into force in March 2018, when customers will be required to show ID. The age restriction on sales will be applicable in 2,700 Co-op Group stores and over 1,000 independent co-op society stores.
Co-op commercial director Michael Fletcher said: “There is growing concern about the consumption of energy drinks among young people and we recognise that we must act.
“It’s a balance between offering choice whilst doing the right thing and we have listened to parents and teachers who want to limit young peoples’ access to high caffeine drinks.”
Earlier on Friday Tesco was the last of the big four to commit to restrictions on energy drink sales to under-16s.
“We know that this isn’t easy to implement, so in addition, we will create awareness in store and online to highlight that high-energy caffeine drinks are not recommended for children, supporting the #notforchildren campaign,” said Tesco group communications director, Jane Lawrie.
Last week Asda became the first of the big four to commit to such a ban, which will see an age restriction introduced on 84 products from 5 March. Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Lidl have since committed to under-16 age restrictions on energy drinks. Waitrose announced similar plans in early January.
A number of independent retailers, such as Premier Eldred Drive Stores in Orpington, Kent, have introduced their own energy drink restrictions to under-16s.