New research released today suggests that the Great British public would back Government plans to include nutritional and health information on alcohol products.
A new poll from YouGov asked the public what legal requirements they would like to see for alcohol labelling. The majority of those asked supported more information being included on labels including:
- 75% of people want the number of units in a product on alcohol labels
- 61% of people want calorie information on alcohol labels
- 53% of people want the amount of sugar on alcohol labels
The findings come on the same day that a group of 94 leading health experts, including charities, medical royal colleges and academics, as well as parliamentarians, have written to the Health Secretary calling for better alcohol labelling.
The letter was sent ahead of a Government consultation on better labelling for alcohol products; a move which is welcomed by the signatories.
Alcohol is currently exempt from the labelling requirements for food and non-alcoholic drinks.
Alcoholic drinks are only required to display the volume and strength (in ABV) and common allergens. Information on nutritional values (including calories), ingredients, health warnings or the number of units of alcohol the product contains is not required and is therefore largely absent from labels.
The letter signatories, including the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Physicians, argue that displaying nutritional information on alcohol labels can empower people to take control of their health. Alcohol is very energy dense, with a large glass of white wine having the equivalent calories as a slice of pizza. For those who drink, alcohol accounts for nearly 10% of the daily calorie intake, with around 3.4 million adults consuming an additional days’ worth of calories each week – totalling an additional two months of food each year.
In addition to calorie labelling, the signatories support providing further health information on alcohol labels, including the Chief Medical Officers’ low-risk drinking guidelines.
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: “The consultation on alcohol labelling is welcomed by both the public and many of the leading health experts in this country.
“People both want and deserve to know what is in their drinks. We already empower consumers to make decisions about their health by displaying nutritional information on food and soft drink labels, so why should alcohol – a product linked to 80 deaths a day – continue to be exempt?
“As well as calorie labelling, we need prominent health warnings on labels, including drink driving and pregnancy warnings as studies suggest that this could help reduce alcohol harm by increasing knowledge of the health risks and prompting behaviour change.”
The consultation on alcohol labelling is expected to begin in the summer.
 All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The YouGov survey was conducted on behalf of Action on Smoking and Health. Total sample size was 12247 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18/02/2021 – 18/03/2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
 RSPH Alcohol calorie labelling https://www.rsph.org.uk/our-work/policy/drugs/alcohol-calorie-labelling-.html