Three quarters of adults believe that the number of units in an alcohol product should be included in the labelling, while just over half want to see nutritional information like calories and sugar content, according to a survey commissioned by the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA).
The survey of 12,000 people by YouGov also found that 70 per cent wanted to see government policy protected ‘from the influence of the alcohol industry and its representatives’. More than half supported a ban on alcohol advertising on TV, online and in public, while 60 per cent thought that alcohol promotions in shops should only be visible to people browsing for alcohol.
Alcohol is currently exempt from the requirement for food and drink products to display nutritional information – alcohol products only need to state the alcohol volume and strength (as ABV) and list common allergens. The government has previously said it would launch a consultation on alcohol labelling, but the plans have subsequently been delayed. However Ireland became the first country to introduce mandatory health labelling for alcohol – including calories, grams of alcohol contained and warnings about liver disease and cancer – earlier this year (https://www.drinkanddrugsnews.com/ireland-becomes-first-country-to-introduce-mandatory-comprehensive-alcohol-labelling/).
The AHA has launched a manifesto, Pouring over public opinion, calling for commitments from all political parties for a ‘comprehensive evidence-based strategy, free from alcohol industry influence’. The UK is at ‘a tipping point, and the public knows it’, it states. ‘Whilst the government continually delays its promised public consultation on alcohol labelling, our report found that 76 per cent of those surveyed supported a legal requirement for alcohol labels to display the number of units in alcohol products. One of the major barriers to progress is the influence of the alcohol industry.’
‘The results of the YouGov survey clearly show that people in the UK want to see politicians doing more to protect their health and that of their families and their communities,’ said AHA chair Professor Sir Ian Gilmore. ‘People want the opportunity to lead healthy lives and make healthy choices but current legislation, or lack of, makes this difficult when important health information is being withheld from labels and children are being bombarded by alcohol adverts. Deaths from alcohol have reached a record high and every week that the government fails to act on this issue, another 490 people die.’