Alcopop packaging ' used to target children'

Related tags Alcoholic beverage Sabmiller

Anheuser- Busch and Miller, part of the London-based group
SABMiller, are facing a lawsuit that alleges that the company has
illegally targeted children through its packaging and advertising
of alcopop drinks.

The case was filed at the Los Angeles County Superior Court yesterday by the parents of a 20 year-old girl who was killed in an underage drink-driving case filed for the law suit.

FAB drinks are becoming increasingly popular in both the US and in Europe. While there has been opposition to the marketing techniques products before, this case could lead to SABMiller paying millons of dollars in damages.

The parents have slammed the company for what they claim is irresponsible marketing that makes the drinks attractive to youth. It could mean that the way alcopops are packaged could change.

FAB drinks, according to a Datamonitor report are predicted to continue to rise in sales through to the year 2007 and it is currently worth in the region of €4 billion in Europe.

Over the last five years the drinks have increased in popularity as a result of "fashion and marketing"​ claims the Datamonitor analyst, John Band.

The beverage ingredients company Diageo for example claim that 65 per cent of its sales increase in recent years has come from innovation and ready to drink beverages (RTD), according to the Canadian Beverage Research Company.

The National Health Survey on Drug Abuse in the US says that 6.8 million youths annually have underage drinking linked deaths.

This case has the potential to change the way that brewers package their products. The courts may force the company to change the packaging of drink such as Jack Daniels original hard cola, which they claim is packaged in a way that is deliberately designed to mimic a soft drink.

The UK has witnessed the largest growth in alcohol consumption in recent years. On average the UK consumer spends $49 a head on alcopops and the UK has 60 per cent of the European alcopop market.

If SABMiller is made an example of then it is possible that this could have consequences for other manufacturers in the industry that have enjoyed sales in FAB drinks as a result of trendy marketing.

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