New research released by the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) shows that the majority of adults in Britain would back Government plans to make nutritional information and health warnings on alcohol products mandatory.
A poll from YouGov surveyed 12,000 adults and asked what they believe should be legal requirements for alcohol labels. The majority supported more information being listed on labels including:
- 76% of people believe the number of units in a product should be included
- 56% of people believe a pregnancy warning should be included
- 51% of people believe nutritional information such as calories and sugar should be included
Under current law, all food and non-alcoholic drinks must display nutritional information, but alcohol products are exempt, despite being linked to seven types of cancer and over 200 illnesses. Alcoholic drinks are only required to display the volume and strength (in ABV) and common allergens.
In 2020, the Government committed to holding a consultation on alcohol labelling, however these plans have since been delayed.
The YouGov poll also found that over half of respondents support a ban on alcohol adverts in public, on TV and online, with 60% believing alcohol displays and promotions in shops should only be visible to those who intend to browse or purchase alcohol.
70% of people also support protecting Government policy from the influence of the alcohol industry and its representatives.
The research report comes as the group of charities and health organisations launch a new cross-party manifesto in Parliament today calling on the government to commit to an evidence-based strategy to tackle the growing public health crisis caused by alcohol.
Latest figures from The National Audit Office show that alcohol specific deaths rose by 89% between 2001-2021, while alcohol harms are estimated to cost the NHS £3.5 billion every year.
Speaking at a Parliamentary event today, the AHA highlighted the opportunity each party has ahead of the next general election to make Britain a healthier country. The manifesto calls for further action in four key areas including measures to protect children, create healthier communities, support the NHS and improve the economy.
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: “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.
“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.
“While our neighbours are introducing bold and effective policies, such as Minimum Unit Pricing in Scotland and Wales, and comprehensive health warnings on alcohol products in Ireland, England is not keeping pace. Deaths from alcohol have reached a record high and every week that the Government fails to act on this issue, another 490 people die.
“The launch of this report in Parliament today is to let politicians on all sides know that their voters want more to do be done to address alcohol harm, and our Manifesto highlights the most impactful evidence-based levers they can pull to do this. As a first step, Government could at least ensure consumers have the right health information about the products they purchase through adequate mandatory labelling. A measure the government has already promised to consult on but has been since kicked into the long grass, despite the public support for it.
“The harm caused by alcohol is entirely preventable. With a general election due to take place next year, our message to all political parties is that with the right political will there is a significant opportunity here to turn the tide on alcohol harm and drastically improve the lives of generations to come.”
The full report and manifesto are available to read in full here.