Calorie information now on half of all alcoholic drinks

Calorie Information on Alcohol Labelling

Almost half (47%) of alcoholic drinks in the UK feature calorie information on labels, despite no legal requirement to do so, a new study has found.

The market review, Informing Alcohol Consumers, released by the Portman Group today, looked at a sample of over 400 of the most widely consumed alcoholic drinks.

The Portman Group, which is the self regulator and social responsibility body for alcohol marketing in the UK, said the study reveals an industry-wide commitment to provide consumers with public health information on labels.

The report shows that of over 400 alcoholic drinks studied, 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%). In addition, almost four in five (79%) carry the latest UK Chief Medical Officer low risk drinking guidelines – a far larger footprint on labels since the previous evaluation.

“Responsible alcohol marketing needs to be clear, and have information that consumers can easily understand to make informed choices. It is a significant achievement that the industry is delivering on its commitments to ensuring high standards of voluntary best practice,” Matt Lambert, Portman Group chief executive, said.

“As our report shows, calorie information on alcohol labelling is firmly on track to become a majority wide industry practise as we have already seen with unit labelling, pregnancy, Drinkaware and responsibility messages.”

The trade body has called for labelling to remain voluntary ahead of an impending consultation from the Department of Health and Social Care, which may see such information become mandatory.

The consultation, anticipated by the end of 2021, may see the government enforce new requirements on alcohol labels including pregnancy warning logos, unit content information and the latest Chief Medical Officer drinking guidance amongst others.

This comes as many in the alcohol industry works towards self-implemented measures to provide calorie information for alcoholic drinks by the end of 2022.