More alcohol companies need to sign up to the Government’s public health responsibility deal on alcohol to meet a deadline on health information labeling, it has been revealed.
Currently, around 60% of alcohol labels feature responsible drinking information such as unit content, sensible drinking guidelines and a warning about alcohol and pregnancy.
Much of the drinks industry has signed up to and will meet the deadline of December 2013 to introduce such labeling on their products.
However, the target is for 80% of alcohol product labeling to contain this information and Henry Ashworth, chair of the Public Health Responsibility Deal alcohol network, which began a year ago, has called on more businesses to sign up.
Mr Ashworth, writing in a blog on the Department of Health’s website, said: “There are still too many misusing alcohol. Drinks producers and retailers are determined to help reduce these harms.
“Profit and social responsibility are not mutually exclusive and frankly, the industry’s sustainable future depends on it playing its part.”
Latest industry data from the Portman Group, the social responsibility body for alcohol producers, showed that more than 60% of current product labels feature responsible drinking information.
Mr Ashworth said: “I am delighted to say that drinks producers’ promise to feature responsible drinking information on 80% of alcohol labels on shelf by 2013 is well on track.
“This is fantastic progress and we still have 18 months to go. I am confident that we can reach the 80% target and now is the time for any drinks producers who haven’t yet signed up to be doing so quickly.”
An additional pledge for lower alcohol content is being spearheaded by 35 leading companies, he added, saying: “They have pledged to provide a greater choice of lower strength alcohol products, smaller measures and increase promotional activity to inform people about the lower and no alcohol products available.
“This pledge opens the way for innovation in both the on-trade (bars/clubs) and off-trade (retail), such as introducing lighter house wines as standard and featuring lower alcohol choices more prominently in stores and venues.
“I would love to see more companies from these sectors signing up to the lower alcohol pledge and innovating in the same way.”
The Portman Group has guidance as well as an advisory service for companies to help them meet the responsibility deal agreement.