Maria Sharapova has been slammed and branded “irresponsible” for releasing Sugarpova, a line of high-sugar sweets.
Maria Sharapova’s Sugarpova range comes in 12 different flavors and has an average of 84 g of sugar per bag – the equivalent of 21 teaspoons or two cans of Coca Cola.
Russian tennis ace Maria Sharapova, who is currently in Australia for the Australian Open, has been criticized by child psychologists for the “inappropriate” 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.”
Maria Sharapova, ranked number two in the world, 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.”
The sweets come in 142 g bags, filled with an average of four servings of five sweets – but it would take an extraordinary amount of self-control for most people to stick to a meager five.
Each “serving” contains 120 calories and approximately 19 g of sugar, the equivalent of five teaspoons or half a can of Coke.
Perhaps more pertinently, each bag – which costs $5.99 and is currently only available in the US – is packed with some 480 calories and 80 g of sugar – in some cases as many as 84 g, the equivalent of 21 teaspoons or two cans of full-fat Coca Cola.
Corrina Langelaan, campaigns manager for The Parents’ Jury, an Australian organization 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.”
Jeff Rubin, who created the brand with Maria Sharapova, said 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 tooth and what they really love is gummies and sour.”