Is Tesco Right to Ban Ribena?

By James O Malley on at

The world is expressing horror this morning at the announcement by Tesco that the retailer will no longer be selling Ribena, Capri-Sun and Rubicon, in a bid to tackle childhood obesity.

Apparently the drinks will disappear from shelves on 7th September to coincide with kids going back to school, and they will be replaced by Tesco's own brand sugar-free alternatives. A 500ml bottle of Blackcurrant Ribena apparently contains 215 calories and 52.6g of sugar.

A few days ago trade mag The Grocer broke the story, and this morning social media (and the likes of the Metro) picked up on it.

Tesco's David Beardmore apparently explained the decision by saying that "This is part of our 10-point plan against obesity and we have decided that from September we will only sell no-added-sugar drinks in the kids' juice category".

In other words, if the makers of Ribena want to get back into stores, they better start putting alcohol in it, by the sound of things.

So is this the right thing to do?

On the one hand, childhood obesity is a very real problem and it is nice to see a retailer leading by example. But on the other, if Tesco is so worried why is it still selling... well... pretty much everything else? If Tesco's intentions were really pure, then wouldn't it scrap everything but the fruit and veg aisle?

Coincidentally, 500ml of Coca-Cola also contains 215 calories, and yet that will presumably remain available. Or is Tesco planning to employ stormtroopers to police parents' shopping trolleys?

And far be it from us to suggest that this is a cynical publicity stunt designed to make headlines to promote Tesco's own brand products but... well... Umm...

Let us know what you think in the comments below.