Diageo to provide nutrition and alcohol content information on beverages globally

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 30th March 2015
Diageo to provide nutrition and alcohol content information on beverages globally
Diageo to provide nutrition and alcohol content information on beverages globally

Global alcoholic beverages giant Diageo has announced it will provide consumers around the world with alcohol content and nutrition information per typical serve — a first for any alcohol company.

The information will be provided through Diageo’s responsible drinking website DRINKiQ.com and/or on-pack in a majority of Diageo’s markets, subject to local regulatory approval, as soon as practicable.

“Diageo puts the consumer at the heart of everything we do,” said Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive, Diageo. “We are committed to ensuring our consumers have the best possible information from which to make informed choices about our products: this includes alcohol content and nutrition information per typical serve,” he said.

“Currently, there is no obligation to provide such information in markets worldwide, but we know that consumers are increasingly discerning about what’s in their glass,” Mr Menezes said. “We want to provide alcohol and nutrition information that consumers can quickly understand, instead of expecting them to do the maths,” he said.

Labels ‘could help reduce misuse of alcohol’, Diageo

Providing information on the amount of alcohol per serve will help consumers understand how much they are drinking, according to Diageo. The Company said this “could help reduce the misuse of alcohol – a goal shared by regulators, consumer organisations, health professionals and alcohol companies alike”.

US label already approved by regulators

Diageo said it would work with regulators around the world to agree the format of voluntary labels which provide information on alcohol content and nutrition per typical serve. In the US, Diageo has gained regulatory approval for a voluntary “serving facts” panel for alcohol drinks that includes this nutrition and alcohol per serve information.

EU labels will indicate ‘per typical serve’

In the European Union, alcohol drinks are currently exempt from providing nutrition information on labels, but other foodstuffs are required to do so per 100ml. Diageo said the 100ml basis “on its own does not reflect the reality of the way drinkers consume alcohol, and is therefore misleading”.

The Company said it believed that consumer information for alcohol was best provided “per typical serve”, so that consumers could understand the alcohol and nutrition content of serves of different drinks, which vary in size across beer, wine and spirits. To this end, Diageo said it would work with the EU to establish a standard alcohol unit across the 28 Member States to provide an effective way of communicating alcohol content to consumers.

“Today’s announcement from Diageo is a fine example of their commitment to giving consumers the information that they need to make sensible decisions about alcohol,” said Ian Duncan, MEP for Scotland and Member of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee. “Providing both the nutrition and alcohol content of alcohol drinks, in an easy to understand ‘per serving’ format, is a major improvement on the confusing current system, where there are different measurements of alcohol units across the EU,” he said.

“This is a hugely positive step and one that the European Commission should reflect on, as it considers how to tackle harmful drinking,” Mr Duncan said.