Serve Legal, a leading ID testing company for age-restricted products, has advised retailers who have implemented a voluntary ban on the sale of energy drinks to under 16s to operate a ‘no ID, no sale’ policy.

Speaking at the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) Responsible Retailing Forum in Birmingham yesterday (May 16), Serve Legal commercial manager Matt Eastwood also called for greater clarity on possible legislation for age-restricted sales in the energy drinks category.

He cited research from the latest ACS Voice of Local Shops survey revealing that 53% of independent retailers have already introduced a voluntary ban, with 29% of those who hadn’t saying they would support the introduction of new government legislation.

“The trouble with a voluntary ban is that it leads to inconsistency,” he said. “If retailers are confused about the rules then you can guarantee that customers will be too.

“That’s why we advise those who have introduced a voluntary ban to operate a ‘no ID, no sale’ policy because then shoppers can be in no doubt about where the store stands on the issue.” 

Eastwood added that independent retailers ‘should be ready’ for new legislation on the sale of energy drinks to under 16s, as public issues like childhood obesity become a greater priority for government officials. 

Elsewhere, Retail of Alcohol Standards Group (RASG) chair Hardish Purewal discussed how retailers can prevent proxy sales in their stores, where those under 18 get others to buy alcohol on their behalf.

She said: “Retailers have done such a good job of checking the ID for alcohol sales that now younger people are becoming smarter about how they get hold of age-restricted products.

”It can be difficult to spot a proxy sale but the important thing is that if retailers know or suspect that someone might be buying alcohol for someone under age then they can refuse that sale. It’s just about being vigilant; most of the time it’s parents who are buying the drinks for their kids.” 

Purewal also unveiled new Think 25 materials, which will launch to retailers this July. The new materials, which feature an updated design, will be available to download for free from the RASG website shortly after launch.