In less than a month’s time, the different alcoholic beverage sectors are expected to present the European Commission with a joint self-regulatory solution aimed at providing consumers with the list of ingredients and nutrition information for their products, extending to alcoholic beverages the mandatory labelling that is already in place for food and non-alcoholic drinks.
The Brewers of Europe agree with the Commission that there are no “objective grounds that would justify the absence of information on ingredients and nutrition information on alcoholic beverages or a differentiated treatment for some alcoholic beverages.”
Indeed, there is no justification for a consumer receiving comparable information on the ingredients list or energy content of a non-alcoholic beverage, but then having no access to the equivalent information for an alcoholic beverage above 1.2 per cent ABV.
As one of the founding and active members of the EU Alcohol and Health Forum since 2007, the brewing sector has a long-standing pledge to help empower consumers with the facts to make informed decisions about their drinking and the role that beer may play in their lifestyle.
Brewers have taken a leading role on consumer information and self-regulation is already working for beer. Three years ago, The Brewers of Europe committed to voluntarily listing ingredients and nutrition information per 100ml, and today over 70 per cent of beers in the EU list ingredients on the label, in full conformity with EU legislation.
Legally presented nutrition, or specifically energy, values are also ever more the norm, with roll-out on track as implementation spreads throughout Europe and for an increasing number of beers. Consumers want to know what’s in their drinks.
"There is no justification for a consumer receiving comparable information on the ingredients list or energy content of a non-alcoholic beverage, but then having no access to the equivalent information for an alcoholic beverage above 1.2 per cent ABV"
A 2016 survey by GfK revealed that 86 per cent of Europeans believe alcoholic beverages should list ingredients and show nutrition information per 100ml, the legal reference volume already known to consumers for all other drinks. 70 per cent say the label is a key source of information.
The brewers’ commitment and implementation efforts have been welcomed by MEPs and the European Commission as well as BEUC (the European Consumer Organisation) and Eurocare which represents 57 public health organisations.
Throughout the EU no less than 280,000 food companies of all sizes have already been meeting consumers’ expectations on ingredient listing and nutrition information for decades, in compliance with EU law.
European brewers’ voluntary commitment is exactly about that. Nothing revolutionary but putting what’s inside our beers on the outside is what Europe’s consumers expect.
And by doing so we are, simply but clearly, showing the way forward to the other alcoholic beverage sectors.