If you were a dodgy plumber or made misleading double glazing adverts, you could expect Trading Standards to fine you and the BBC to make a Rogue Traders programme about your mischief. Make misleading and inaccurate health claims about a ‘health’ drink and the same BBC executives will be forking out license fee money on the product for their expensed lunch with their rocket, cous-cous and feng shui salad.
Sip Drink is a new bottled water, fresh on the market this year, and unashamedly aimed at women. At lunch today in a trendy salad bar in London I saw this new range on sale for £1.99 a pop. The bottle screams that it is “your way to better, beautiful skin.” This fruit flavoured water is telling us that it has ‘skin healthcare benefits’, is ‘natural and pure’ and is ethical and environmentally friendly.
And all this is bullshit.
Their web site tells us about ‘favourable reviews’ in the Times Style supplement and asks us to read AA Gill’s review. They are obviously hoping no one does. This is what Gill thinks of the health claims,
There is nothing in this stuff that will take you on for a single day longer than your allotted span. They won’t cure anything, stop you catching anything, make you a better shag, unless you use the empties as a butt plug.
So, obviously a ‘favourable review’ now is someone in The Times mentioning that your empty bottle might make an oxymoronically puritanical sex toy. Gill is comparing a range of similarly ridiculous health waters and says this specifically about Sip:
Sip says: “We all know water works wonders on our skin.” Well, most of us do. Some teenagers don’t. We use it for washing, generally.
Sip does not win the contest though. He describes the range as having “infantile and monosyllabic flavours”.
Grudgingly, we all agreed that if we really, really had to choose the best one, that is, if we were all crawling through the Sahara with tongues like carpet tiles and were confronted by the full range, then it would have to be Firefly.
What Sip is doing is playing on the old canard that we are all constantly living in a caffeine and alcohol induced state of permanent skin shrivelling dehydration, and we need to drink ‘pure’ water to correct this. Gill pricks the ‘alternative medical orthodoxy’,
This contemporary truism sprang from a misunderstanding of a piece of ancient research that measured the amount of liquid a healthy body needed in a day. Nutritionists, only just clever enough to be nutritionists, thought this meant pure water. It didn’t; it meant liquid. Which we get from all sorts of things, including everything we eat and everyone we snog.
Sip’s canards do not stop at the health claims. We are compelled to believe ‘sip’s eco ethics’ by reading that they “are proud that sip is made entirely in Britain so has a small carbon footprint: our skincare botanicals are sourced by an organic farm in Herefordshire, and sip is bottled in the Black country.”
Considering that Sip is no more than flavoured water, we have to question the environmental claims. A glass of water from the tap will cost you five thousand times less, require no plastic packaging and no transportation costs. Squeeze a 10p lime or lemon into your water and you can gave your vitamins and antioxidants too – but from a really natural source.
Sip was not invented by scientists or dietitians, but unsurprisingly by Kate Shapland, beauty editor of the Telegraph Magazine. Her 20 year’s of experience, as a beauty editor for glossy magazines, has apparently given her the ‘expert heritage’ in understanding of skincare to make this drink and these claims.
New Trading Standards laws came into force a few weeks back. I find it difficult to see how such nonsense could stand up to scrutiny under these new rules. I, for one, cannot wait to see one of these firms in court trying to explain how their claims have any relationship with reality and how they are not exploiting their customers.