Caffeine-laden drinks appeal to kids

A new drink promises to make ‘good energy’. CHOICE looks at the source of these claims.
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  • Updated:11 Aug 2009

01.Caffeine laden drinks appeal to kids

Smart Energy, a range of drinks by wellknown juice brand Spring Valley, contains as much caffeine as other energy drinks, such as Red Bull and V. Spring Valley’s TV advertisement shows a group of young people drinking the product while creating a stroboscope in a wasteland.

The Smart Energy website asks, “What is good energy? What would you create, build, make, do? Would that thing inspire people … Would they smile, laugh, weep, yell, throw up or high five a stranger?” It also claims “Smart Energy makes good energy”.

With Spring Valley’s “good energy” marketing campaign, parents and youth could be forgiven for thinking this range of drinks is a healthier alternative to other brands. However, a can of any of these energy drinks contains as much caffeine as a shot of espresso.

In general, children shouldn’t be given drinks containing caffeine. They can suffer disturbed sleep patterns, bedwetting and anxiety from the caffeine in just one cup of coffee or one can of energy drink.

It pays to check the nutritional label on the product. In our previous report on energy drinks we found that drinks such as Red Bull and V had obvious appeal to kids. Energy drink sales have increased by almost 40% in the past year, according to the Australasian Grocery Guide 2009. Research has found that some Australian boys aged eight to 12 consumed energy drinks, and teenagers said they were having up to five cans of energy drink before sporting events.

These “smart drinks” are only smart in the way they’ve positioned themselves as providing “good energy”. In reality they’re no better than other energy drinks; they contain caffeine that children shouldn’t have and they are loaded with added sugar, which most of us can do without.

Look out for future research by CHOICE on energy drinks.



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