Half of UK alcoholic drinks display calorie information on labels

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Portman group Alcohol Uk

Almost half (47%) of alcoholic drinks in the UK feature calorie information on labels, says the Portman Group, as it calls for such labelling to remain voluntary.

The UK’s Department of Health and Social care is due to launch a consultation on alcohol labelling as part of the obesity strategy: which is likely to review whether calories should be mandated on pack along with the Chief Medical Officer’s low risk guidelines and pregnancy warning labels.

The Portman Group, which is the self-regulator for alcohol marketing in the UK, is calling for labelling to remain voluntary by highlighting the pledges and actions already made by the industry.

It notes that the alcohol industry has already made commitments with regards to calorie labelling: The Brewers of Europe has committed to label calories on all beer bottles and cans in the EU by 2022; while spiritsEUROPE has committed to calories on labels, covering 66% of the EU market by December 2022.*

Given that the commitments aim for 2022, the number of brands displaying information is expected to 'rise significantly' between now and then.

Market survey

A study from the Portman Group of 400 drinks shows 49% of drinks in the UK already show calorie labelling.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of drinks already contain: pregnancy warnings (99%), alcoholic unit information (94%) and a reference to a responsibility message, or to Drinkaware (93%).

Nearly four in five (79%) carry the latest UK Chief Medical Officer low risk drinking guidelines – a considerable rise from 29% in 2019.

The Portman Group says these are 'hugely positive findings'.

"Our research shows that the industry has already voluntarily taken action on the proposals under consideration by the Government, without recourse to legislation. We believe further progress can be made on a continued voluntary partnership basis, rather than through mandatory measures.

"The Portman Group will also now seek to proactively engage with producers to help close the few remaining gaps where they exist. We will also work across the sector to launch updated best practice guidelines, ensuring that UK consumers have access to more health and product information than ever before to help them make an informed choice.

"Finally, watch this space as we intend to carry out another review of the market in 2022, to track further progress that has been made in updating labels."

The Portman Group is funded by 14 member companies: Asahi UK Ltd; Aston Manor Cider; Bacardi; Brown-Forman; Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I; C&C Group; Campari; Diageo GB; Heineken UK; Mark Anthony Brands International; Mast-Jäegermeister UK; Pernod Ricard UK, SHS Drinks and Thatchers.


* ‘These commitments remain relevant as many producers seek to minimise the number of changes between labels for the UK and Europe and will often replicate the EU market requirement with our own,’ says the Portman Group

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