Detox the kids! The bogeyman is in your fridge

So you thought Sunny Delight was good for the children and they loved it? You know life isn't like that.

IT WAS the drink that came from nowhere. Sunny Delight. The name itself was soothing, a reminder of pastoral simplicity, a lost world away from Cola wars and "lifestyle" marketing. Let Lucozade dazzle with state- of-the-art computer graphics, let Tango fizz over with post-modern irony, Sunny Delight was content to slip into the chill cabinet and stand shoulder to shoulder with the milk and the freshly squeezed juices. Soon we were on first-name terms with this unassuming little drink. "Sunny D" made itself indispensable in fridges throughout the land, softening up the mums with a few well-placed words about vitamins and entrancing children with its delicious formula. And now, just look! Old Sunny, like some insidious stranger in a Pinter drama, has smashed the competition, and been named this week as the most successful new brand of the decade.

It's the taste, you see. Like orange juice, only nicer. Maybe its those vaunted vitamins A, B(1&6) and C that put this "enriched citrus beverage" in a class of its own, encouraging us to swill down pounds 160m worth of the stuff in the past 12 months. Kids across the country are going glassy- eyed with desire for the stuff, while mums who view Coca-Cola as Satan's Spume and wouldn't be caught dead with a carton of Um-Bongo in their Waitrose trolley, are happy to tuck a bottle of Sunny Delight into their childrens' lunchbox alongside the wholemeal pitta parcel and the carrot sticks.

Now, however, with the announcement from the Food Commission, the Home Counties will resound to the gurgling and rumbling of an en masse detox programme. For the secret ingredient in Sunny Delight has been revealed to be none other than our old friend, refined white sugar. The Food Commission, an independent watchdog, spared no blushes when it announced that "The image [of Sunny Delight] comes across as a very healthy fresh fruit juice drink and mums think its good for their children. In fact, it is full of thickeners, colours and flavourings to make it look like a fruit juice, when it's basically just a very sugary drink. Basically, it's just a marketing con."

The shock could hardly be greater if Winnie the Pooh had been found making crack cocaine in the Hundred Acre Wood. At just under 5 per cent fruit juice, a fact which, to be fair, is there for all to see on every bottle, Sunny D weighs in well under Tango and Fanta in the nutritional stakes. The ingredients, in scrupulously descending order, are water, sucrose and fruit juice, all stirred up with carboxy methyl cellulose, xanthum gum and a slew of other additives. It is probably no worse than any other soft drink, fizzy or not, aimed at the lucrative children's market, but the point is, we thought it was better. We loved the brisk efficiency of the chiller cabinet (there is actually no need for Sunny Delight to be kept in the fridge. Unlike milk or fresh fruit juices, it does not require a particularly cool temperature to remain in optimum condition. When the world has ended, one begins to fear, there will still be cockroaches and Sunny Delight).

We loved the idea of being enriched by vitamins and, most of all, we loved the idea of being loved. For this was the really insidious ingredient in Sunny Delight's pounds 9m marketing strategy. Remember how the mum in the ad nearly falls over backwards when her desultory brat says "thank you" for his drink? Here at last was a drink that would make our children strong and healthy - and appreciative.

Heigh-ho. Sic transit gloria mumsi. My own tip is to save the Sunny D bottles and decant fresh orange juice. My own daughter and son are just about young enough to fall for this one. If, however, you find your children slumping back into their customary stupor, simply add six teaspoons of sugar to each glass. Then go out and get drunk over your failure to live up to the telly-ideal. And what to do with the Sunny Delight lake which now threatens to engulf us? I have it on the most reliable authority that it is wonderful for hangovers.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam