Posted 20 hours ago

Dragon Soop Peach & Raspberry 500ml, Case of 8

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It may be necessary to inform consumers that a product contains certain ingredients, for example high caffeine content, but this must be done in a factual and ‘non emotive’ way.” The company then highlighted that in the interim, with the future of Dragon Soop in limbo, SHS Drinks had declared in the trade press that in May 2022 it was launching WKD X, which closely mirrored Dragon Soop with an almost identical offering. The company highlighted a quote from the article that stated that WKD X “was developed in conjunction with guidance from industry watchdog the Portman Group.” The company stated that it understood it was against Portman Group rules for SHS Drinks to suggest that the Portman Group had endorsed its brand in this way, even when a producer had consulted with the Portman Group’s Advisory Service prior to launch. The company stated that it understood that Portman Group Code rules prevented disclosure of advice given by the Advisory Service. However, given the commented printed in the article that the “onus on getting the responsibility right” had been noted by WKD, the company stated that it was hard to imagine that SHS Drinks would have gone ahead with launching WKD X in its current form if the Advisory Service had advised that it breached any aspect of the Code. Red Bull Energy Drink's special formula contains ingredients of high quality: Caffeine, Taurine, B-Group Vitamins, Sugars, Alpine Water. There must be no undue emphasis on the drink’s higher alcoholic strength, or intoxicating effect – 3.2(a); The communication of the products’ alcoholic strength had been conveyed in a factual and proportionate way and there was nothing on the cans that placed undue emphasis on the products’ higher alcoholic strength or intoxicating effect(3.2(a) – emphasis of higher alcoholic strength).

The Panel considered each of the rules in relation to the products. In terms of the rules, they noted: The company concluded by stating that it was important as a self-regulatory body that the Portman Group continued to be seen by all its members as demonstrably fair and transparent. The company noted that the Portman Group was obliged to proceed against a member company or Code Signatory every time a company was accused of a breach of the rules; regardless of who had made the complaint or however credible the complaint was. The company also explained that the Portman Group proceeded with breach procedure, even if the company had previously been cleared of breaching those rules. The company stated that the Panel’s decisions had far reaching consequences, which could potentially lead to a Retailer Alert Bulletin which resulted in the removal of a brand from all retail shelves. Moderate - On your feet for much of the day, either standing or occasional slow paced walking. Typical jobs: shop assistant, teacher, chef/cook, bar worker, engineer. One 250ml can of Red Bull Energy Drink contains 80 mg of caffeine, about the same amount as in a cup of home-brewed coffee.

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Moderately active - Do light to moderate intensity exercise 3-4 times a week. E.g. going to the gym / swimming / cycling / horse riding / dance classes / playing golf. Daily dog walking (brisk pace, twice a day). The table below contains all postcodes on a two day service. Please note all deliveries to Northern Ireland are also on a 3-5 days service. Offshore Island deliveries will take longer than two days including Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Scottish Highlands and Islands and Scilly Isles.

Alcohol can cause abnormal heart rhythms in the body, high blood pressure and can damage the heart muscle and cause other diseases such as strokes, liver problems and some cancers. Alcohol is also high in calories and can lead to weight gain and health-related issues in that sense (British Heart Foundation). Caffeine in large amounts can also have effects on the body and health, such as increased breathing and heart rate as well as increased mental activity and physical energy. The body can also become dependent on caffeine physically and psychologically and then feel withdrawal symptoms from it (Better Health Channel). Hence, excess levels of both can have adverse effects on health, especially young people.B-group vitamins: Vitamins are essential micronutrients that are required for maintaining normal body functions. The amount of sugars in a can of Red Bull Energy Drink is comparable to the level of sugars in an equivalent amount of apple or orange juice - 11 g per 100 ml. The high strength content encourages binge and excessive drinking and leads to irresponsible behaviour as most young people drink more than one can breaching the anti-social behaviour code of conduct. The high caffeine intake along with the high alcohol content masks the effects of drunkenness. Hence, young people don’t realise how intoxicated they are, which can lead to becoming unwell and engaging in risky behaviours. The company stated that NIADA could not claim to have knowledge of what ‘most young people’ did, as its day-to-day work and research was conducted with a very specific group of young people, all of whom had serious alcohol or substance abuse issues. The company explained that this research group could not in any way be seen to be representative of the population as a whole. The company argued that any extrapolations about the behaviour and attitudes of the wider population based on research carried out solely with this group would be skewed, misleading and far from impartial. The company stated that NIADA had made a number of unreliable observations, incorrect contentions and factual mistakes that the company wished to comment on.

As an alliance, we have concerns around the drink ‘Dragon Soop’ and those similar. We at NIADA believe that this drink breaches numerous rules stated in the code of conduct including the Alcoholic content, Strength, Appeal to under 18s, Popularity, Anti-social behaviour and Sexual Success. Dragon Soop and other high caffeinated drinks such as ‘Screaming Devil’ and ‘Four Loko’ all raise our concerns as they have such high content of alcohol as well as caffeine and are heavily popularised and consumed by young people. Following a number of focus groups and consultations with young people we believe Dragon Soop to be the more popular drink of choice, so wish to move forward with an official complaint. The company noted that there were specific cues which had been defined by the Panel as possibly having a particular appeal to under-18s. ‘Bright, high contrast colours’ were an example and the company highlighted that many alcoholic brands featured colour schemes which could be described in this way. In contrast, the company explained that Dragon Soop was specifically designed not to be garish or particularly bright and that the different colours used throughout the range were to denote the various flavours within the range, as was common practice for flavoured alcoholic beverages. Firstly, the company highlighted that NIADA had stated that it wished to submit “a complaint about caffeinated alcoholic drinks”, but that the organisation had only singled out Dragon Soop from a group of other caffeinated alcoholic drinks. The company stated that the organisation had done this based on the unscientific basis that Dragon Soop is what NIADA called “the more popular drink of choice.”

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The company explained that in 2015, Dragon Soop was fully investigated by the Independent Complaints Panel (Panel) under Code rules 3.2(f) and 3.2(h) which it found to not be in breach. The company highlighted that it had received a letter from the Chair of the Panel that there had not been any breach of the Code and that the decision was final. The use of a dragon on all product artwork, along with the claw marks did not look aggressive and did not create an association with aggressive behaviour (3.2(b) – aggressive behaviour) The Panel then considered Dragon Soop Red Kola further under rule 3.2(h). The Panel noted that the name Red Kola sounded similar to the retro sweet ‘Cola Cubes’. However, the Panel considered that any reference to the sweet name was purely incidental, but that even if there was a link, the Panel concluded that ‘cola cubes’ as a flavour had a wide appeal and did not appeal particularly to under-18s. The company stated that it had respect for the work of specialist organisations like the Northern Ireland Alcohol and Drugs Alliance (NIADA) and supported the work it did to aid and educate the often vulnerable, under-privileged young people who were addicted to immoderate and dangerous behaviour with regard to substances and alcohol. However, the company stated that NIADA’s focus was narrow and specialised and its evidence that had been taken solely from its work with this particular group was not impartial. The company stated that it recognised that while each element of the marketing and design of Dragon Soop was important, the overall impression was the most important element to avoid direct or indirect particular appeal to under-18s.

Caffeine: Caffeine was already known by ancient civilisations. They consumed it from natural sources like tea, coffee, cacao beans and cola nuts and appreciated its stimulating effects on the human body. The Panel considered Dragon Soop Rhubarb and Custard and noted that the flavour was based on a traditional sweet and that the colour scheme of the pastel pink and yellow closely resembled these sweets. The Panel considered that there was a risk that this could have an appeal to under-18s. The Panel discussed a previous complaint case about Mr Gladstone’s Curious Emporium Range from 2017 which had a rhubarb and custard flavour. The Panel noted that the decision reflected that rhubarb and custard had a wide appeal and was not particularly appealing to under-18s. The Panel also noted that the decision noted a difference between using a sweet name as a flavour and marketing a drink in the context of sweets which Dragon Soop did not do. When considering the Dragon Soop Rhubarb and Custard flavour, the Panel concluded that the flavour had wide appeal and did not have a particular appeal to under-18s.

NIADA is the alliance which facilitates co-operation among voluntary and community sector organisations supporting those affected by alcohol and drug use, and their families. We as a collective membership group wish to submit a complaint about caffeinated alcoholic drinks. The company stated that a company, whether it be a Code Signatory or member of the Portman Group, should be able to trust that a ‘final’ decision was final. The company explained that should the same product be subject to complaints of the same nature on more than one occasion, businesses would find it impossible to make medium to long-term planning and investment decisions.

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