The Brewers of Europe has welcomed the European Commission’s call for alcoholic drinks to list ingredients and nutrition information, matching the requirement for non-alcoholic beverages that came into force in December 2016. EU rules oblige producers of beverages below 1.2% ABV to list ingredients and provide the seven nutritional values per 100 ml. The EU Regulation also requires companies voluntarily providing ingredients and calorie information for alcoholic beverages above 1.2% ABV to do so per 100 ml.
“The 100 ml reference is laid down in the Regulation for all beverages, non-alcoholic and alcoholic, and widely understood by consumers across the EU as the robust standard for comparing the nutritional contents of different drinks. When there are anyway no standard portions for any alcoholic beverage across the EU, a solely portion-based scheme can never replace the 100 ml reference,” stresses Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, Secretary General of The Brewers of Europe. “EU law in any case allows companies to add relevant portion size references, provided they are not misleading and are included alongside the 100 ml reference.”
Based in Brussels, The Brewers of Europe brings together national brewers’ associations from 29 European countries and provides a voice to support the united interests of Europe’s 7,500+ breweries.
Following a public commitment made by The Brewers of Europe in March 2015, Europe’s brewers have been voluntarily rolling out ingredients listing and nutrition information across Europe, following the rules that apply to non-alcoholic drinks. The Brewers of Europe expects that by the end of 2017, over 60% of new beer volumes hitting the shelves across Europe will carry this information, on labels and also via online platforms, meeting the expectations and needs of today’s consumers.
The Brewers of Europe is also encouraging other sectors to follow its lead in providing both ingredients and nutrition values according to the rules, as it is clear that consumers can only be empowered to take informed decisions on how different foods and beverages fit within their diet and lifestyle if there is a level playing field of comparable information.
The Commission states that it will report back in one year on how alcoholic drinks producers are progressing with the voluntary roll-out of ingredients and nutrition information. This roll-out must be done against the rules as laid down in the EU Regulation. The Brewers of Europe is confident that the head start it has in doing this will stand it in good stead in this time-frame.