The European alcoholic drinks sector has revealed plans to inform consumers of the nutritional information and ingredients in beverages.
Seven trade associations representing producers of spirits, wine, cider and beer have presented a joint voluntary commitment on the provision of consumer information to European Commissioner for health Vytenis Andruikaitis.
Drinks with an alcohol content of more than 1.2% ABV are presently exempt from legislation on mandatory food labelling, introduced by the EU in December 2014.
Last year, the European Commission gave the industry a year to develop “a harmonised approach” to be adopted as a European standard, and used to inform consumers about the ingredients and nutritional value of the alcohol they consume.
As the regulation currently stands, spirits producers wishing to voluntarily display nutrition information on label must do so per 100ml, which represents more than three standard servings of spirits and can contradict responsible drinking messages. This has been a problem for many operators when choosing where to display the information.
Spirits Europe director general Ulrich Adam said: “We ask the Commission to consider allowing energy on spirits labels to be given more prominently per serving size than per 100ml, but also to require that all alcoholic beverages not habitually consumed in 100ml servings provide energy/nutrition per serving.”
For spirits drinks, energy information will be provided per portion (or single serve container) and, as required, per 100ml. In addition, when providing information online, European spirits producers will offer full nutrition information for all spirits and a list of ingredients.
Adam continued: “Today, we are presenting an approach that is serious, flexible, and scalable. Over the next four years, we will fully support our members in their efforts to provide nutrition and ingredient information. Some companies, in particular the many SMEs active in our sector, may opt for online solutions. Others will choose to provide information on label, in addition to the information being available online.
“As part of our commitment to boost consumer information online, the European Travel Retail Confederation has been contracted to develop a pilot project which will make multilingual product information directly accessible to consumers, by scanning the barcode on the packaging via a smartphone, scanner facilities in-store or online.
“Our aim is to provide harmonised and consistent information that is available to any consumer anytime, anywhere – and in their own language. This is made possible by the rapidly evolving digital technologies and is confirmed by recent research which shows that consumers are increasingly turning to digital and mobile sources of information before, during and after shopping.”
The first progress report on the provision of information on label and online will be published in October 2019.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2018