Provision of information to consumers about the calorie content of alcoholic drinks: Did the Responsibility Deal pledge by alcohol retailers and producers increase the availability of calorie information?

Mark Petticrew, Nick Douglas, Nason Maani, Cécile Knai, Mary-Alison Durand, Elizabeth Eastmure, Nicholas Mays

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Objectives
Alcohol is a significant source of dietary calories and is a contributor to obesity. Industry pledges to provide calorie information to consumers have been cited as reasons for not introducing mandatory ingredient labelling. As part of the Public Health Responsibility Deal (RD) in England, alcohol retailers and producers committed to providing consumers with information on the calorie content of alcoholic drinks. This study examines what was achieved following this commitment and considers the implications for current industry commitments to provide information on alcohol calories.

Study design
Analysis of RD pledge delivery plans and progress reports. Assessment of calorie information in supermarkets and in online stores.

Methods
(i) Analysis of the content of pledge delivery plans and annual progress reports of RD signatories to determine what action they had committed to, and had taken, to provide calorie information. (ii) Analysis of the availability of calorie information on product labels; in UK supermarkets; and on online shopping sites and websites.

Results
No information was provided in any of 55 stores chosen to represent all the main UK supermarkets. Calorie information was not routinely provided on supermarkets' websites, or on product labels.

Conclusions
One of the stated purposes of the RD was to provide consumers with the information to make informed health-related choices, including providing information on the calorie content of alcoholic drinks. This study indicates that this did not take place to any significant extent. The voluntary implementation of alcohol calorie labelling by industry needs to continue to be carefully monitored to determine whether and how it is done.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health
Volume149
Early online date9 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • alcohol
  • labelling
  • calories
  • evaluation
  • Responsibility Deal
  • public health policy
  • obesity

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