Analysis: Will a wine brand's calorie labelling change the drinks sector?

By Ben Winstanley contact

- Last updated on GMT

Treasury Wine Estates

Related tags: Calorie information, Alcoholic beverage

The news one of the world’s largest winemakers, Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), is to provide calorific information across its portfolio of bottled wine has further fuelled the debate over the availability of dietary information in the drink sector.

According to Drinkaware, nearly one million people searched for calorie information on its website this year, with the organisation’s unit and calorie calculator being completed 1.25 million times.

Despite this, drinks producers have largely yet to react to this increased consumer demand for knowledge.

There’s a Beer for That recently conducted a study​ in which drinkers' lack of knowledge towards calories was exposed: a staggering 29% were convinced a half pint of beer contained more calories than a burger and 10% believed beer was more calorific than wine.

Wine has 160 calories in a 175ml glass of white wine while a half pint has around 91 calories.

It is against this backdrop TWE has announced its move, one it claims is a first for the global wine industry.

The roll-out of calorie information on TWE wines will start in Europe, where it said there was "heightened consumer interest in accessing information on the calorie content of wine and other alcohol beverages". Calorie information will be provided online, with a web address printed on the company's wine brand labels.

TWE general manager for Europe, Dan Townsend, said: "We believe a commitment to providing calorie information on our brands is a positive step that leads the wine industry in responding to consumer interests in this important area."

UK industry trade body the Wine & Spirit Trade Association have supported the move. Chief executive Miles Beale said: "It is another good example of industry leading the way in providing information to consumers so that they can make informed choices about consumption. Significantly it also provides the sort of calorie information their consumers want and in a format that they can access easily," he said.

Though for now the impact this will have on the pub and bar sector remains small, when TWE’s £361m buyout of the majority of Diageo’s wine businesses comes into effect, this may change. With Blossom Hill, the second largest wine brand in the UK, part of the package, the on-trade may find itself more involved in the debate.

Meanwhile, the BBPA confirmed its position on calorie information on beer labels remains relaxed but, in the face of TWE’s decision, how long it will take for fellow drinks brands to follow suit remains to be seen.

Related topics: Wine

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