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Pepsi’s challenge: being convincing
Drinks maker says it will stop selling its sugary syrups in schools. How very noble of them.
March 27, 2010 5:34 by kippreport
Pepsi has boldly declared that it will no longer sell its sugary, syrupy brown cola in schools, with a worldwide ban coming into force by 2012.
Middle East schools will also be subject to this ban. But will it help counter the worrying obesity and diabetes rates in the region?
The UAE, for example, has the fourth-highest rate of obesity in the world, at 33.7 percent, according to the World Health Organization. It has the second-highest rate of diabetes at 19.5 percent, WHO figures show.
It isn’t just the adults. In Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, the rate of child obesity is as high as 50 percent. In the UAE, kids as young at ten are being diagnosed with diabetes. Many experts attribute the region’s obesity crisis partly to the consumption of sugary sodas sold by companies like Pepsi and Coke.
But Kipp doubts whether Pepsi’s initiative will work here, or anywhere else.
For Pepsi is everywhere. And podgy children are smart enough to buy a can of the brown stuff before, after or during school.
A ban on Pepsi in schools could be a win-win scenario for the company. Will Middle East schoolchildren actually change their habits?
What is banned often becomes more desirable among children (see also: cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, etc). And so could Pepsi’s move actually given their brand more kudos, and make it more appealing among children?
Likewise with the parents. Will a ban in schools give Pepsi the edge as some kind of ‘health-conscious’ brand?