The industry-funded alcohol awareness charity also wants to pubs and restaurants to do more to promote the 125ml wine glass over larger serves. In addition, it has argued for unit information to be displayed on all alcoholic bottles and cans.
Drinkaware believes that a line to denote a single unit is preferable to a unit line at the top of the glass, because it would help consumers “visualise how much a unit is”.
On the issue of the smaller wine measures, Drinkaware highlighted the fact that, since 2010, alcohol retailers have been obliged by law to offer customers small measures of wine.
Drinkaware chief executive Elaine Hindal claimed that the issue is that the 125ml serving is not always visibly promoted.
“We would encourage this to be done through making this serving more visible on menus,” she explained. “You often have to go to the small print at the bottom of the menu to find out that a 125ml serving is even available and usually it’s not even priced.
“Supersizing alcohol portions isn’t good for any of us,” Hindal added.
The proposals come on the back of research commissioned by the charity that suggests two-thirds of 25 to 65-year-old drinkers don’t recognise how many units they can drink if they want to stay inside the lower risk guidelines.
Furthermore, the research found that most drinkers are unable to say how many units there are in a glass of wine or a pint of beer.
Chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies is currently reviewing the guidelines on alcohol consumption, and Drinkaware has urged her to make them clearer and simpler so consumers will find it easier to use them.
The charity argued that “significant measure creep” had meant units have got harder to understand over the years. It claimed that when they were first introduced, the guidelines advised that a standard glass of wine – then between 8%-10% ABV – was the equivalent of a unit of alcohol.
Now, a standard glass – 13% ABV – is worth 2.3 units, Drinkaware added.
Hindal said: “It’s clear that the unit guidelines aren’t working. It’s not just that most people don’t know them, it’s that they don’t know how to apply the guidelines to the drink in front of them.
“It’s not surprising when you think how complicated they are.”