SPAR’s private label wine used the description ‘everyday wine’ in a UK trade press release to differentiate it from its ‘standard’ and ‘premium’ ranges.
However the Portman Group, a group established by alcohol producers to promote responsible drinking, noted that the UK’s guidelines on low risk drinking advises consumers to have several alcohol-free days a week.
Therefore it concluded that SPAR’s messaging “was creating a direct correlation, possibly unintentionally, between low price and the acceptability of everyday alcohol consumption.”
Code paragraph 3.2(f)
'A drink, its packaging and any promotional material should not in any direct or indirect way encourage illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption, such as drink-driving, binge-drinking or drunkenness'
SPAR says it takes responsible retailing of alcohol very seriously. It stated that the description “everyday wine” was not intended for consumer communication and that there was no intention to indicate that the range of wines should be consumed every day.
It explained that the term “everyday wine” was used in a trade press release in order to communicate to retailers the positioning of the wine as “entry level”. The “everyday wine” range retails at £5 and SPAR wanted to distinguish it from the “standard” range (£6) and “premium” range.
With the majority of its retailers being independent, SPAR said it was important to communicate quality and price positioning clearly to retail customers.
However, Alcohol Concern Wales raised concerns that by alluding to drinking the product every day, SPAR was indirectly encouraging immoderate consumption.
Alcohol drinking guidelines
The Portman Group noted that the press release was directed at trade, not consumers. It also acknowledged the use of ‘everyday’ as a common retailer category definition to differentiate between premium and value.
However, the Panel believed the context immediately linked the messaging to daily consumption of the product.
“The Panel debated whether the choice of the word “drinking”, in favour of other descriptors such as “quality”, “range” and “value”, was acceptable even if only appearing in trade communications.
“In this particular case, the messaging was creating a direct correlation, possibly unintentionally, between low price and the acceptability of everyday alcohol consumption.
“When considered in the context of the 2016 Chief Medical Officers’ Guidelines on Low Risk Drinking, which advise those wishing to cut down the amount they drink to have several drink-free days a week, the Panel agreed that the term “everyday drinking” was unlikely to be acceptable.”
It concluded that SPAR could have used different terminology to convey the notion of a value range and upheld the complaint.
SPAR confirmed that it will not use the term ‘everyday wine’ again.
SPAR Head of Brand, Cath McIlwham said: “At SPAR we take the responsibility of retailing alcohol very seriously and work closely with The Portman Group. The use of the term was intended to explain the price positioning of the wine range in question and not to be communicated to customers or to encourage increased alcohol consumption.
"We have taken steps to ensure this phrase will not be used again in any of our communications either to consumers or retailers. SPAR remains committed to the responsible sale of alcohol.”
A 2013 complaint against Tesco’s ‘everyday value’ range was not upheld, because the term ‘everyday’ was linked to the value and not to the alcohol or consumption.