Malcolm Clark, co-ordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign (CFC), has written to Bach urging the change of policy, after his election as president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday (September 10).
As the world faces an obesity crisis of epidemic proportions – with more people now overweight than underweight globally – the Olympic movement should work with athletes to inspire a new generation to get fit and eat well, he said.
“Yet the IOC persists in giving fizzy drink and junk food companies, such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, an unrivalled platform to promote their brands and their sugary and fatty products in multi-million pound sponsorship deals that link sport to less than healthy eating habits,” said Clark.
“Despite acknowledging the harm to the IOC’s aims and reputation, the previous president of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, renewed these sponsorship deals to last until at least 2020.”
The charity urged Bach to acknowledge the power of the Olympic brand and care for children’s health by ditching such sponsorship deals.
'Fight against obesity'
Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We all recognise our industry has a role to play in the fight against obesity, which is why soft drinks companies have been reducing the calorie content of our drinks for many years now, and currently more than 60% of all soft drinks in the UK contain no added sugar.”
Like all food and drink, soft drinks should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle, he said.
“The sponsorship by soft drinks companies of sporting events enables them to promote sporting activity and healthy lifestyles and should be welcomed,” added Partington.
No one from the IOC was available to speak to FoodManufacture.co.uk.
The next summer Olympic and Para Olympic Games are scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.
Meanwhile, the Winter Olympics are due to take place next September in Sochi, Russia.