Russian tennis star – Maria Sharapova has launched a cute range of candy, all seemingly aimed at her young fans and children. But the range, named Sugarpova, has been widely criticised by nutritionists for having a large amount of sugar in each bag.
The 25-year-old tennis star, who is currently ranked number two in the world of tennis, has been branded ‘irresponsible’ for releasing the 142gm bags of sweets that contain a whopping 84gm of sugar in each bag. Experts have calculated that is the equivalent of more than two cans of Coca Cola in each bag.
Sharapova’s range of sweets come in twelve different flavours, and include lemon and lime tennis gum balls, sour rainbow strips, gummy sour fruits, fruit flavoured gummy spiders, fruit flavoured accessories, candy kisses and flirty sours.
Sharapova, who is currently in Australia for the Australian Open, has been criticised by child psychologists for the ‘innapropriate’ launch of a ‘playful’ and ‘flirty’ junk food line that is particularly targeted towards young girls and women.
A website mission statement from the brand reads: ‘Sugarpova is a premium candy line that reflects the fun, fashionable, sweet side of international tennis sensation Maria Sharapova. Maria has created her own candy business to offer an accessible bit of luxury, interpreting classic candies in her own signature style. A long time candy lover with a surprising sweet tooth, Maria is bringing a new level of quality to the candy category through fun, unexpected types and shapes – with playful names to match. Wrapped up in a beautiful package, it’s both style and substance, just like founder Maria Sharapova.’
Sharapova says: “I’ve always had a sweet tooth. And I am not exaggerating one bit. My earliest memory of candy is being a little girl back in Russia and asking my parents for a lollipop after a good practice on the tennis court. It was that little treat I looked forward to. And here I am many years later hoping to get a sweet treat after a good practice.
So when the name Sugarpova came about and I put the two together, I realized how much fun this could be. I have been a part of many projects, collections, collaborations, shoots, but at the end of the day I was always just that… a little part of it. So I put my thinking hat on and realized I wanted to start something on my own. Something that could bring the fun and passion of gummy candies to life and can be my own little project from start to finish. After 18 months of endless brainstorming, adult-like decision-making, budget hair-pulling, a little bit of this and a little bit of that, it’s finally here! I hope you enjoy the candy as much as I have enjoyed starting this adventure.”
Although some of the profits from the sales of these candy sweets go to Sharapova’s Foundation, diet experts and nutritionists are still not convinced that a major player in the tennis field should be releasing a range of sweets.
‘Sports stars have a disproportionately large influence on consumer behaviour, including that of children. So to be promoting an unhealthy habit like this seems entirely inappropriate’
Corrina Langelaan, campaigns manager for The Parents’ Jury, an Australian organisation which campaigns for responsible advertising and promotion of food, told Australian news website news.com.au: ‘Maria Sharapova is a hugely influential athlete, admired by parents and children alike.
‘She has a role to play in promoting healthy lifestyles and, with childhood obesity on the rise globally, spruiking a confectionary range smacks of irresponsible marketing.’
And child psychologist Dr Justin Coulson said Sharapova nudging girls and women towards an ‘unhealthy habit’ was ‘simply irresponsible’ because of the influence she had over children’s behaviour.
Jeff Rubin, who created the brand with Sharapova, said that athletes marketing ‘healthy’ and ‘organic’ sweets was misleading, because the athletes themselves eat sugary snacks
He said: ‘Sports stars have a disproportionately large influence on consumer behaviour, including that of children. So to be promoting an unhealthy habit like this seems entirely inappropriate. Surely she can come up with something that’s good for people?”
However, Rubin, who created the brand with Sharapova, added that athletes marketing ‘healthy’ and ‘organic’ sweets was misleading, because the athletes themselves eat sugary snacks.
Speaking to The Candy Industry, he said: ‘For me, someone who’s been going to over 20 years of candy shows, we see different athletes at every show, selling an organic version of something or a healthy version of something or a natural version of something, when we all know that they all have sweet tooths and what they really love is gummies and sour.
For more information visit sugarpova.com.
All pictures copyright Sugarpova.