We’re calling for alcohol product labels to be required to display health warnings and nutritional information to help consumers make informed decisions about their drinking.
Why is alcohol labelling important?
Over half of UK adults want more comprehensive labelling on alcohol products.
Labels are an important way to help consumers know more about the contents of the product that they are buying.
Under the law, food and non-alcoholic drinks must display nutritional information and cigarettes must display health warnings. Alcohol labels require neither.
What does the law require?
Unlike all other food and drinks, the law requires very little information on alcohol labels. The only information that is required is the volume of the container, the drink’s strength (alcohol by volume, ABV), and whether any of the 14 most common allergens are present.
Beyond this limited required information, the government has allowed a voluntary approach to alcohol labelling. The inclusion of all other information including the official low-risk drinking guidelines, health warnings, ingredients, nutritional information, and the number of units of alcohol in the container is left up to the producer.
Packaging and labelling is overseen by the alcohol industry funded Portman Group.
Why do we need better labelling on all alcohol products?
Everyone deserves the opportunity to make healthy choices for themselves, their families and their communities.
However, current product labels are clearly failing consumers, with the alcohol industry continuing to keep people in the dark about the contents and health risks of its products. This is despite some alcohol products containing more than 100% of the daily recommended sugar intake.
Alcohol harm is widespread, serious and poorly understood by drinkers. A Canadian study released in 2020 found that alcohol warning labels, like warnings on packets of cigarettes, are effective tools in helping drinkers make informed decisions. The study found consumers exposed to the labels were 10% more likely to know about the link between alcohol and cancer and three times more likely to be aware of the low-risk drinking guidelines.
Alcohol labels are one tool, among many, that could help reduce alcohol harm by increasing knowledge of the health risks and prompting behaviour change.
In our recent YouGov polling survey of over 12,000 UK adults, we found:
- 76% want to see number of units on a product
- 56% want to see a pregnancy warning on labels
- 51% want to see nutritional information such as calories and sugar on labels
What is the Alcohol Health Alliance UK campaigning for?
We are calling on the UK Government to:
- Empower people to lead healthy lives by introducing mandatory alcohol product labelling that provides consumers with information relating to:
- Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines
- Health risks such as alcohol during pregnancy and cancer
Call for better alcohol labelling
Tell your MP why action on alcohol labelling is needed to protect consumers’ right to know and improve our health.