Bah Humbug but is Coca Cola sponsoring the World Cup the right message?

File:Flag of Brazil.svg One of the main topics of conversation over the next few weeks will undoubtedly be the World Cup, or maybe that’s a bit optimistic where the England Team are concerned?! Anyway, my worry is the sponsorship list, particularly with Coca Cola being up there at the top. Coca-Cola has had a formal association with FIFA since 1974 and an official sponsorship of the World Cup since 1978 and they have had stadium advertising at every FIFA World Cup™ since 1950. As a major partner they pay something like $25-50 million per year to promote the event and of course themselves. Yikes! File:Coca Cola-bxyz.jpg So this year’s theme is happiness; they unveiled a ‘happiness’ flag (ahhh) and their chief marketing officer Joseph Tripodi made the comment

“Just as Brasil is everyone’s country and Coca-Cola is everyone’s drink, the FIFA World Cup is everyone’s cup”

So excuse me for putting a downer on the World Cup, but shouldn’t we be a little bit concerned about a major soft drinks company sponsoring such a huge event.  Surely there is a conflict of interest here? The reason I say this is that while we watch handsome, fit men (and some pretty ugly ones too!) running around a football field kicking a ball, is it not wrong to be guzzling down bottles of Coca Cola whilst sat on the sofa or in the pub, slowly getting fatter and increasing our risk of diabetes?! Now some of you may turn your nose up at Coke and go for the more sophisticated kind of soft drink. Something fruity or made with elderflower? Surely these are so much better than Coke? Well let me tell you, Coke is not as bad as many of these posh drinks in terms of sugar content. Both Coke and Pepsi contain around 9 teaspoons of sugar but these are actually right at the bottom of the list! Take a look at this (adapted from the Telegraph today)

Drink Sugar per 100g  Teaspoons of sugar per 300ml serving
Waitrose Ginger Beer 13.9g 11
M&S Firey ginger beer 13.8g 11
Sainsbury’s Cloudy lemonade 13.5g 11
San Pellegrino Pompelmo 12.1g 10
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference pink lemonade 12.3g 10
San Pellegrino Aranciata Rosso 11.8g 10
Fentimans Dandelion and Burdock 11.8g 10
Fentimans Cherrytree Cola 11.6g 10
M&S Rhubarb and Custard sparkling drink 11.5g 9
Sainsbury’s lemonade 11.5g 9
Fentimans Traditional Curiosity Cola 11.3g 9
Shloer white grape, apple and cranberry 11.3g 9

Coca-Cola are due to release their new low calorie drink called Coke Life. Interestingly it has a nice green label rather than red (do we assume if it’s green it’s healthy?) The stevia and sugar combo reduces the calories but at just over 4teaspoons of sugar per can it’s not what I call healthy. Around 40% of Cola drinks sold in the UK are calorie free and I’m not sure if this drink is necessary at all. Don’t be fooled by Coke Life,  it’s just going to contribute to shortening it!

So my advice is watch the sugar content of your soft drinks and don’t assume that something is healthy because it looks it or sounds like it should be.  I’m not saying you should only drink water because that’s no fun at all whilst enjoying the game, just drink sensibly! If you’d like to read more about sugar in soft drinks and fruit juices, take a look here at one of my previous posts. Enjoy the footy!
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