The UK public overwhelmingly supports experts’ calls for consumers to be given nutritional information, alcohol content and the official low-risk guidelines on alcoholic drinks.
“Why should alcohol continue to be exempt?” asks Sir Ian Gilmore, head of the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA), pointing out that all other forms of food and drink must offer consumers such basic information.
Three-quarters of Brits want to be told the number of units in a product, something they currently have to work out, says a Yougov survey for the AHA. Two-thirds want calorie information and half sugar levels.
Three-quarters of people also want to be told the official low-risk guidelines of 14 units (140ml) a week, according to a regional survey by AHA member Balance North East.
The alcohol industry’s marketing body Portman Group abruptly dropped the UK’s official low risk guidelines from its labelling standards in 2017. Its promises to return them to all labels have not been fulfilled
The public also said being told the official low-risk guidelines was essential if unit information is given in a Royal Society for Public Health survey in 2018. And 86% said they used labels.
The new survey forms the backbone of a letter co-signed by 94 health experts calling for better alcohol labelling. Its intended recipient is Health Secretary Matt Hancock who took over the role 2018.
The letter also points out that than only one-in-five people in the UK know the five-year-old official drinking guidelines, and only one in ten yet identify cancer as a health consequence of alcohol. ■