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Brewers of Europe Welcomes Industry-wide Agreement on Consumer Information

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Brewers of Europe Welcomes Industry-wide Agreement on Consumer Information

Brewers of Europe Welcomes Industry-wide Agreement on Consumer Information
March 13
15:45 2018

The Brewers of Europe, which brings together national brewers’ associations from 29 European countries and provides a voice to support the united interests of Europe’s 8,500 breweries, has endorsed a joint framework with other alcoholic beverage sectors to voluntarily list ingredients and nutrition information and, through the Beer Annex to the framework, reiterated brewers’ long-standing commitment to transparency in this area, just as the European Commission, Parliament, Health Council, civil society groups and, most importantly, consumers expect.

In 2015, The Brewers of Europe committed to voluntarily listing ingredients and nutrition information, in full conformity with EU legislation, with the European Commission, other policymakers and consumer and public health NGOs welcoming the commitment.

A 2016 survey by GfK of over 9000 adults across 9 countries revealed that 86% of Europeans believe alcoholic beverages should list ingredients just like other drinks, and show nutrition information per 100ml, the legal reference volume set for alcoholic beverages and already used by consumers for comparing all other drinks. Whilst two thirds of Europeans would use differing online sources to access ingredients and nutrition information for alcoholic beverages, 70% still said they would use the label as a key source of information.

“The Brewers of Europe agreed with the key conclusions of the European Commission’s March 2017 alcohol labelling report, that there were no objective grounds that would justify the absence of ingredients and nutrition information for alcoholic beverages or a differentiated treatment for some alcoholic beverages,” says Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, Secretary General of The Brewers of Europe.

Today over 70% of beers in the EU list ingredients on the label, whilst an estimated 40% of the beers are already labelling calories, in full conformity with the EU laws and complemented by information on digital platforms, often including the full nutrition declaration.

Responding now to these latest implementation figures and the reaffirmation of The Brewers of Europe’s commitment as the means by which brewers would be implementing the new joint framework, EU Commissioner for Health & Food Safety Andriukaitis states: “I appreciate the rigour and ambition with which The Brewers of Europe and the beer sector have been committed to providing information to consumers. I can only encourage the brewers to continue the good work and to keep me informed on progress.”

The brewing sector believes there is no justification for a consumer receiving comparable information on the ingredients list or energy content of a non-alcoholic beverage, but then having no access to the equivalent information for an alcoholic beverage above 1.2% ABV.

“Europe’s brewing sector has played an instrumental role in pushing for a self-regulatory framework that removes the anomaly of the general exemption for alcoholic beverages from the obligation to list ingredients and energy values,” says Pierre-Olivier Bergeron. “I am pleased to see that the other alcoholic beverage sectors are now going to be joining the brewers on this journey. In full transparency we now expect our actions to be monitored and to all be judged on implementation.”

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