Coca Cola discontinues students factory visits amid obesity backlash in UK

Representative image. Photograph:( Others )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 06, 2018, 02.03 AM (IST)

Coca Cola Co. has decided to stop all factory visits by students in Britain after facing backlash that highly sugary drinks cause obesity. 

The soft drink company is scrapping free visits to the company's education centres, five of its factories and recycling centres. The programme included visits by over 500,000 children, reports said. 

More than 100,000 children have taken up free trips to the drinks giant’s education centres. It is also scrapping a national competition — the Real Business Challenge — for secondary schools that involved about 390,000 children.

Real Business Challenge is a national competition that aims to help students develop useful skills such as teamwork and problem-solving.

"Although we took the difficult decision to close our education programme last summer, this decision was taken internally and was not in response to any external pressures relating to our business or our products," The Independent quoted a spokesman from CCEP as saying.

The spokesman further emphasised that the company remains committed to addressing the barriers that prevent young people from entering the workplace.

"We are currently reviewing how we can continue our work with young people in ways that best support their needs in the communities in which we operate. We are proud of our education programme and the role it played in helping to improve the employability skills of many thousands of young people for more than a decade," said the Spokesman.

The spokesman also said that those visiting the Education Centers were only ever offered water or juices to drink, "in line with the school food regulations".