Woolworths responds quickly to social media storm

By By Amy Kellow | 23 November 2012
Droga5 Woolworths campaign.

UPDATED: Woolworths has said it will remove infant drink brand Bebi's fruit juices from its shelves, following a social media backlash and Change.org petition targeting the supermarket's selling of the drinks.

Woolworths told AdNews: "What is clear is that there is widespread debate about the suitability of a juice product made specifically for infants. Given this, we've listened to our concerned customers and made the decision to delist the Bebi fruit drinks from our range and it will come off our shelves over coming weeks."

ORIGINAL STORY: Woolworths has been slammed by consumers on Facebook for selling "unhealthy" juice by infant beverage brand Bebi, with many rallying for it to be taken off shelves and one arguing the supermarket is at fault for turning babies into "toothless diabetics" by 30.

Bebi, an Australian infant beverage company stocked by Woolworths, sells a range of "organic fruit drinks" which come with a nipple-shaped spout for babies aged over 6 months. It claims is it committed to the health of babies and its "low in sugar, organic" fruit juices are in line with current Australian and New Zealand Food Standards Code (FSANZ).

However, several consumers have attacked Woolworths on Facebook for stocking the drink and asked to have it removed from shelve, arguing fruit juice is not suitable for infants and is the cause of health problems including obesity, tooth decay and diabeties in later life.

One consumer, who identified herself as a doctor and a mother, said: "This is just another example of a big business targeting those who don't know better, and those who are too young to complain until they are toothless diabetics at 30.”

Another said: "Profits ahead of infant health - highly unethical. This is a big step in the wrong direction!"

One complainant argued: "Woolworths, please be responsible and stop selling fruit juice for babies. Our young ones wouldn't choose to have rotting teeth and many parents aren't aware that children under three shouldn't drink juice."

"Disgusting that you are selling appallingly unhealthy baby fruit juices such as Bebi brand", argued another.

Others also criticised the drinks' teat-like mouth pieces, saying they encourage babies to consume the juices.

"These drinks are directly targeted at defenceless six month olds and come in a bottle with ready-to-use teats making these products far too easy for infants to consume," one said.

Another described the shaped spout as "wrong" and argued Woolworths needed to "wake up and not stock these items".

The controversy has come off the back of a Change.org petition about the company's stocking of the drinks, which currently has over 11,000 signatures.

However, many consumers have jumped to the defence of the under-fire supermarket and argued parents are responsible for their childrens' health, not Woolworths.

One asked: "When will people start taking responsibility for their own actions and choices?

"It's always someone else's fault for misguided choices. Companies don't hold a gun to anyone's head saying they have to buy something. As consumers its our choice to purchase a product or not. They give us the options."

Another added: "It is a mother and fathers decision what they feed their child. Woolworths has a right just like any other shop to sell these drinks! Why not have a go at people for feeding their kids cordial, soft drink, fast food, chips and chocolate."

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