Calorie labelling

Industry 'open-minded' to calorie labelling as more brewers look to join scheme

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

Industry 'open-minded' to calorie labelling as more brewers look to join scheme

Related tags: Calorie information, Alcoholic beverage

Calorie labelling on beer is gathering momentum as more brewers are set to sign up for a voluntary scheme.

Last week, AB InBev UK announced it will provide full nutritional information for its beers both on packs and online. And the British Beer and Pub Association has told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser ​that some of its members are planning calorie information on-pack and online through a voluntary European brewing industry commitment.

The BBPA is “open-minded” to the potential for calorie labelling on beer.

Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “It is important to stress that if you drink beer sensibly and in moderation, beer is actually low in calories, and lower than for many other drinks. 

“A typical half pint of beer contains just 96 calories, about half the 170 calories in a typical tall latte, for example.”

Report

The industry is awaiting the outcome of a report from the European Commission on the existing exemptions from mandatory labelling of consumer information for alcoholic drinks. All drinks over 1.2% are currently exempt.

Simmonds continued: “Whilst there is a desire to ensure a consistent approach to the delivery of consumer information, new EU labelling regulations do now allow the provision of calorie information alone on labels, rather than as part of a host of other nutritional information such as sugar, salt and fat.

“This does now make it easier for individual producers to provide calorie information on a voluntary basis.”

Manageable, or a burden?

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers claims the sector is already “hard at work” addressing health concerns and ensuring that customers can make informed choices.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Moves to provide additional calorie information are welcome provided they are manageable in practice and do not increase burdens for venues.

“The trade is addressing these issues through the Responsibility Deal, has improved its access to alcohol-free alternatives and taken steps to reduce the strength of its house wine.”

Survey

A recent survey conducted by IPSOS Mori for AB InBev revealed that UK consumers have limited knowledge of calorie levels in beer with less than one in five claiming to be aware of them.

However, over a third of the survey’s respondents (36%) said they paid close attention to their daily calorie consumption, rising to almost half (48%) among 18 to 29-year-olds – the largest percentage among millennials anywhere in Europe.   

Nichols continued: “We want our customers to enjoy themselves and feel confident in their choices. Pubs and bars provide customers with supervised environments and are the homes of responsible drinking. Greater transparency for consumers can help promote responsible consumption.” 

Related topics: Legislation, Beer

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