Holidays are coming as Coca-Cola Christmas truck sets a course for Baldock – but health professionals decry ‘truck of misery’

Coca-Cola Lorry in Ely. Picture: Steve Williams.

Coca-Cola Lorry in Ely. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

The iconic Coca-Cola Christmas truck is set to come to Baldock next week as part of its national tour – but not everyone’s pleased, with a phalanx of dentists, GPs and pharmacists expressing concerns over what they call a ‘truck of misery’.

The lorry will be by Tesco Extra in Baldock’s High Street next Tuesday, December 6, from 1pm to 9pm.

Visitors will get free 150ml cans of Coke, Diet Coke or Coke Zero Sugar, and after sunset a short Christmas animation will be screened onto the truck.

Aedamar Howlett from Coca-Cola said: “Coca-Cola is synonymous with the Christmas season and it’s no secret that our much-loved Christmas truck tour marks the unofficial countdown to Christmas.”

The Coke lorry invariably attracts excited crowds, but a joint statement from the Herts Local Dental Committee, Herts Local Medical Committee and Hertfordshire Local Pharmaceutical Committee – representing dentists, GPs and pharacists respectively – has labelled it a ‘truck of misery’, citing the fact that one in eight children admit drinking sugary drinks four or more times a day.

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“You may welcome a visit from the Coca-Cola truck, but wherever you stand on this issue, there’s no doubt that consuming too many fizzy drinks is bad for your health,” the health professionals’ statement reads.

“Much of our working day is taken up with treating adults and children who eat too much sugar.

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“The problems caused by obesity devastate people lives. Dental decay, a preventable disease, still accounts for far too much suffering amongst children.

“It’s time to address this over-consumption of sugar to save ourselves and children from untimely deaths and the ravages of dental decay.”

Figures attached to the statement indicated that one in five North Herts five-year-olds had dental decay, with one in eight Baldock children being obese. Both issues are often associated with sugary food and drink.

Tooth extractions made necessary by dental decay are the top reason children aged five to nine are admitted to hospital in England, with the number of procedures rising consistently over the past four years.

A Coca-Cola spokeswoman told the Comet that no drinks would be given to under-12s unless a parent or guardian was present and gave permission.

She said: “The Coca-Cola Christmas truck tour provides a moment of fun for everyone in the build-up to Christmas. Each year we receive thousands of requests from people to take it to their town and we always try and plot a route that takes it to as many areas of the country as possible.

“As part of the experience we offer people a small 150ml can of Coca-Cola Classic or one of our no-sugar options, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar or Diet Coke. We do not provide drinks to under-12s unless their parent or guardian is present and happy for us to do so.”

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