European Commission focuses on alcohol labelling

Last year, the European Commission outlined its commitment to making improvements to the availability of information in the alcohol industry – in particular for spirits.

They wanted to make it easier for consumers to find out more about the ingredients and nutritional information of spirits.

In light of this, the European spirits industry has introduced a one-stop-shop online portal, which is a new web portal that aims to give consumers more detailed information about drinks, including information about calories.

But is the new portal in line with commission’s objectives?

The portal gives consumers information regarding the 47 legal drinks categories in the EU. Whereas previously, the industry accepted calories to be displayed per serving, they will now give calories per 100ml.

Among the other information it will provide is a full list of the ingredients included, nutritional declarations, and details on the manufacturing process involved in making the product. Also, it will eventually be available in other European languages.

The move has been welcomed by health groups, who say it will provide more transparency by giving online information freely – giving consumers the chance to make an informed choice.

However, some consumer groups argue that, as not all consumers have access to the internet, simply providing more information online isn’t enough.

The industry recently outlined its plans to make this information available in shops via a barcode scanner that can be accessed through smartphones. Consumers would be able to get product information. There are plans to introduce this by 2022.

In addition, the industry has proposed a new scheme to self-regulate labelling. They say the focus would be on more flexibility and alcohol manufacturers would be able to decide whether to display information online or on the label.

Although there’s no “quick fix” solution when it comes to the issue of labelling, it’s hoped by the Commission that an agreement can be reached that suits the industry and benefits consumers.

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