Calls have been made for the Coca-Cola Christmas truck to be banned over fears that it contributes to an “obesity epidemic.”
Despite the fact that, in the eyes of many, the annual tour of the truck round the UK signals that Christmas is on its way, the Liberal Democrat party in Liverpool believe the festive tradition should not take place this year.
Lib Dem leader Cllr Richard Kemp has written to bosses at the Liverpool One shopping district arguing that the truck encourages consumption of an unhealthy product, the Liverpool Echo reports.
“I believe that the visit by Coca Cola should not take place,” Cllr Kemp writes.
“You only have to look around you to see that Liverpool is in the grip of an obesity epidemic - 30 per cent of our 11 years olds are obese with about five per cent being clinically obese.
“Up to 60 per cent of our adults are obese and many of them clinically obese - we must take action to deal with this because the consequences are alarming.”
In the eyes of Cllr Kemp, the annual Christmas truck’s visit is a “cynical event.”
“It is not designed to welcome Christmas but to increase the consumption of a product that is grossly unhealthy,” he said.
“10 per cent of all hospital beds are occupied by people with type II diabetes. All of which is avoidable if people were to eat and drink properly and take enough exercise.”
His Liberal Democrat council colleague Cllr Mirna Juarez added: “There is plenty of profit to be made in Liverpool One during the Christmas run up and New Year sales.
“I am sure that the tills will be ringing even without the visit of this promotion.
“I appeal to Liverpool One to put our children first and join with public health campaigners to promote a wonderful, joyous and safe Christmas for the children of Liverpool and their parents.”
However Coca-Cola has pointed out that the truck also sells sugar-free drinks.
A spokesman for Coca-Cola Great Britain said: “The Coca-Cola Christmas truck tour provides a moment of fun for everyone in the build-up to Christmas and we’ve had a positive response from many people in Liverpool whenever we have visited.
“The tour is now in its seventh year and each year we receive hundreds of requests for the truck to visit towns and cities and we take these into account when creating a route which has a good geographical spread.
“People will have the opportunity to see the truck up close, have their photograph taken and enjoy a choice of a small, 150ml can of Coca-Cola Classic or one of our no sugar options, Diet Coke or Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.”
Coca-Cola’s Christmas truck was last year criticised by leading public health expert professor John Ashton for bringing people “gifts of bad teeth and weight problems.”
However many people see the twinkling red truck as a symbol of festive cheer, with many members of the public arguing that in a season of indulgence, drinking one extra 150ml can of Coca-Cola doesn’t make a huge difference.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies