Brewers call for more – not less – label information

24 April, 2019 by Andy Young

The Brewers Association has expressed incredulity at calls for less nutritional information on alcohol product labels and highlighted that the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code expressly forbids making health claims about alcohol products.

The association responded to media reports claiming the alcohol industry were marketing products under a “health halo”, with one researcher calling for governments to put a stop to this perceived marketing ploy.

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However Brewers Association of Australia CEO Brett Heffernan said he was surprised at the move to actively prevent consumers making informed choices.

“Some want to remove the factual, scientifically proven information about sugar and carbohydrate content in all alcohol products from labels and marketing materials,” Heffernan said.

“It is a fact that alcohol companies do not and cannot make health claims about their products. It is expressly forbidden under the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC).

“We know there is growing interest among consumers wanting to understand what is in alcohol products – specifically sugar, carbohydrates and calories.”

He added: “The IRI Liquor Trends Series – Trending better for you attributes in liquor products, September 2018, found: ’60 per cent of respondents say nutritional panel information displayed on products affects purchases. The information most wanted on alcohol labels 1. Sugar (77 per cent), 2. Carbohydrate (52 per cent) 3. Calorie (47 per cent)’.

“Consumers want to make informed personal decisions about the sugar and carbohydrate content of the beers they consume. Denying them the facts and, therefore, the ability to make informed choices is counter-intuitive.”

Under the standard of “Responsible depiction of the effects of alcohol” the ABAC states that a marketing communication must not: “suggest that the consumption of an alcohol beverage offers any therapeutic benefit or is a necessary aid to relaxation”.