“We want Europe’s consumers to know the ingredients in beer and how these beers can fit within a balanced lifestyle,” Brewers of Europe’s Secretary General Pierre-Olivier Bergeron said, “Brewers already label the alcohol content on their beer brands but we also agree with consumer groups that citizens would benefit from having access to the ingredients and nutrition information, allowing them to compare like-for-like facts with all the other beverages available to them, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic.
“When it comes to ingredients and nutrition, our overall aim is that we wish to have well-informed consumers,” he continued, “Fulfilling this wish also means going beyond labelling the products to utilising new technologies that allow consumers to consult the detailed, tailored information that meets their needs. In the last five years, not only the usage of these new technologies, but also their capacity to provide accessible information, has grown exponentially.”
As companies and national brewers’ associations consider the local applications of this commitment and roll it out as appropriate, Brewers of Europe will set targets, report on progress made and showcase best practices. This will also contribute to the implementation of the European Beer Pledge, a package of responsibility initiatives launched in the European Parliament in 2012.
All food and beverages are covered by the EU Regulation on Food Information to Consumers. However, when it comes to ingredients-listing and nutrition declarations, there’s currently an exemption for alcoholic beverages of more than 1.2% ABV. So brewers will be going beyond the current EU Regulation on Food Information by providing this information, doing so per 100ml as is currently legally required for the rest of the food and drinks industry. The information will progressively be provided across Europe by companies on-pack and/or online.
The EC is due to produce a report on the current exemption for alcoholic beverages over 1.2% ABV and the next steps for dealing with the issue. Should the Commission decide to bring the rules for alcoholic beverages into line with those for non-alcoholic beverages then it’s absolutely essential that a level playing field be set amongst all alcoholic drinks, stated Brewers of Europe.
“Europe’s brewers have been working on this commitment for many months and will work from today onwards in strengthening consumer knowledge of beer’s ingredients, nutritional content and place within a balanced lifestyle,” concluded Pierre-Oliver Bergeron, ”We really hope that the other alcoholic drinks sectors will follow our lead and commitment to transparency in this endeavour.”