New Zealand media headlines - October 2016
Catch up on the most topical issues in sugars and health making the headlines in New Zealand this month:
1. ‘No Sugary Drinks’ Logo – following the FIZZ symposium 2016
The first "No Sugary Drinks" logo was unveiled at a FIZZ symposium on October 11 in a bid to send a clear message about the damage caused by too much sugar in our diets, with FIZZ pushing for a sugary-drink free New Zealand by 2025. Dr Bodo Lang (Marketing Lecturer at Auckland University and lead logo designer) was interviewed on their plans for the logo, which includes being displayed at schools, hospitals, workplaces, public spaces, businesses and event venues. The logo was pulled on October 13 over complaints the bottle depicted in the logo was targeting soft drink company Coca-Cola. The founder of FIZZ, Gerhard Sundborn claims it was not intentional; however FIZZ has since changed the shape of the bottle image whilst maintaining the red colour for the logo.
2. WHO push for a tax on sugary drinks
The World Health Organisation’s recommendation for countries to adopt a 20% tax on sugary drinks to curb the global obesity epidemic has sparked much debate over the logistics and potential outcomes of a sugar tax in New Zealand. New research has revealed sugary beverage consumption patterns in New Zealand are declining and are not a major contributor to energy intake. Olly Munro (President of the NZ Beverage Council) released a press statement concluding a tax on sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) is unnecessary and potentially narrow-minded, paralleling Food and Grocery Council CEO Katherine Rich’s urge for discussion to move from blaming individual foods and to centering on a food literacy and moderation focus. There is still support however in favour of a SSB tax particularly with respect to decreasing overall consumption and dental health. For more information on a sugar tax click here.
3. NZ Childhood Obesity Plan – 1 year anniversary – advertising to children in particular
October 21 marked the first year anniversary of the New Zealand Childhood Obesity Plan. A major topic of discussion was restriction on advertising food and beverage products to children that are too high in energy, saturated fat, added sugar and/or sodium, and provide minimal nutritional value. The key changes include voluntary restrictions around junk food advertising throughout programmes with an audience of more than 25% children, and a wider age band for such advertising, now including the 14-18 year old bracket. There are mixed views on the voluntary code. Nick Wilson, a public health expert at the University of Otago said “the voluntary code was just a way for the industry to stave off actual regulation, in the way the tobacco industry had done for 20 years” whereas Lindsay Mouat, NZ Advertisers CEO, adds that if the proposed code was adopted, New Zealand’s standards for advertising to children would be "among the most stringent in the world.”