Mental energy claims cleared in UK
allowed to continue with its claims, after investigation of the
scientific evidence to back up the advertising statements,
writes Dominique Patton.
Lucozade Energy contains high levels of glucose and caffeine, designed to enhance mental performance, according to its manufacturer, the healthcare firm GlaxoSmithkline. It advertises the product using the slogan, 'brain energy in a bottle'.
But while the company acknowledged that 'energy' in the strict scientific sense was the provision of kilojoules or kilocalories, it said the average person understands 'brain energy' to be mental performance characterised by sharpness, memory and concentration.
And it could provide the UK's Advertising Standards Authority with five studies demonstrating the effects of Lucozade Energy on mental performance.
The Authority's conclusion that the claim was not misleading shows acceptance of a nutrient function claim for caffeine. It also reveals the UK's more liberal approach to 'energy' products compared to other European markets.
Both France and Italy have tried to prohibit the marketing of products such as energy bars and drinks, although a European court recently ruled that Italy had not shown any alleged risk to public health from such products and must remove its ban.
Studies on Lucozade Energy have found that it enhanced concentration during a period of sustained mental demand and also significantly improved the accuracy and speed with which participants performed tasks requiring sustained attention or concentration.
The UK's Joint Health Claims Initiative recently published a report on health and nutrient-function statements that are well-established by science or current use. The report will be used in the future definition of health and nutrition claims in Europe, a regulation currently under debate in the European parliament.