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20 October 2017

Ahead of target in fulfilling landmark voluntary commitment

On 28 September 2017, the Brewers of Europe stated in a press release that they were successfully implementing their voluntary commitment to list ingredients and provide comparable nutrition information, calling on other sectors to follow their lead in view of the alcohol industry proposal due in March next year.

In March 2015, they announced a major voluntary move from brewers across Europe to list ingredients and nutrition information on their brands per 100ml, in line with the legal requirements for all non-alcoholic drinks, including non-alcoholic beer. This landmark commitment builds on the European Beer Pledge, a voluntary initiative by brewers across Europe to support EU Member States in reducing alcohol related harm.

The latest progress was announced today by Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, Secretary General of The Brewers of Europe, at a Eurocare event hosted by MEP Jytte Guteland in the European Parliament. Bergeron said, “with regards to ingredients, we are ahead of our target and now estimate that over 70 per cent of pre-packed beer in the EU is labelling its ingredients”. He added, “around a third of pre-packed beer now labels calories”.

At EU level alcoholic beverages are part of the Food Information Regulation, covered by the rules in relation to font sizes and labelling items such as alcohol content and allergens. However, there are exemptions with regard to ingredients listing and nutrition declarations when it comes to alcoholic beverages over 1.2 per cent ABV.

‘’People have a right to know what is really in the products they buy. The EU legal framework must ensure that consumers can make truly informed and easily comparable choices for all alcoholic beverages, just as they can for other products. Therefore, we should close the current loophole in the Food Information to Consumers regulation so that the nutrition content in all alcoholic beverages is provided per 100ml” said MEP Jytte Guteland, who hosted today’s event.

In March 2017, the European Commission gave alcohol producers until March 2018 to deliver a self-regulatory proposal that would respond to consumers’ expectations and cover the entire sector of alcoholic beverages. The Brewers of Europe will continue to work with other sectors following the Commission’s call to develop a voluntary solution.