Just one in five Brits know how many calories are in wine or beer or know the official low-risk drinking guidelines, according to a Yougov survey from campaigners calling for labelling to inform them.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that the alcohol industry is able to get away with not providing full information on its packaging,” said Holly Gabriel from Action on Sugar, a view echoed by campaign partners Alcohol Health Alliance.
Alcohol is a carcinogenic drug of dependence with a calorie density comparable to cooking oil, causing a wide range of common physical and mental health problems and mistakes ranging from the deadly to the embarrassing.
But a legal loophole means alcoholic drinks labels need to contain less nutritional information than orange juice. Alcohol suppliers compound the problem by omitting low-risk drinking advice to protect shareholder profits.
Labels provide crucial information to consumers, but alcoholic drinks labels need only show alcohol content, allergens and container size. Campaigners see an upcoming consultation as a way to put this right.
Our individual decision making has major limitations in curbing harm from an addictive drug, but denying us basic pieces information is not a solution. ■