Shop staff should advise consumers how to ‘cut back’ on alcohol

Drinkaware, an alcohol awareness charity, has suggested shop staff should be able to advise customers looking for information about low-alcoholic and alcohol-free drinks to help them cut back.

The announcement comes as Drinkaware’s 2021 monitor report revealed only 5.1% of 9,137 participants were able to identify what “alcohol-free” and “low-strength” drinks meant in terms of ABV.

The charity, which is partnered with Tesco, has offered retailers a number of definitions which they can then provide to customers. For drinks produced in the UK, low-alcohol drinks refer to those with an alcoholic strength by volume (ABV) of between 0.05% and 1.2%.

Drinkaware has warned that drinks described as alcohol-free may contain up to 0.05% ABV and so may not always be appropriate for those avoiding alcohol completely. The charity also highlighted that drinks can be labelled as ‘reduced’ or ‘lower strength’ if they typically have an ABV lower than average for that particular type of drink –  such as a wine with 5.5% ABV.

Read more: Dry Drinker partners with Anya Hindmarch to open no/low alcohol off-licence

“For many of us, New Year represents a chance to set new goals or improve our health and wellbeing,” said Drinkware business development and partnerships director Adam Jones. “There is a wider range of alcohol-free or lower strength drinks available in the off-trade than ever before, something that can directly appeal to customers looking to cut down in 2022.”

“We know from our research, however, that the terminology around alcohol-free and lower strength drinks isn’t always well understood.”

Drinkaware’s lead retail partner, Tesco, has stated it is “committed to providing clear information to customers”. It also says all own-brand alcoholic products include “unit and calorie content, portion guidelines, NHS guidelines, and a warning about drinking when pregnant”.

The Big 4 grocer has previously worked with Drinkaware to highlight alcohol awareness and responsible drinking guidance. All its own-brand alcohol contains a link to Drinkaware’s website.

Currently, Tesco has not changed its online alcohol guidance to accommodate Drinkaware’s “facts at hand” guidance.

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