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Guinness rolls out calorie labelling in Ireland

Guinness has added nutritional and calorie information on pack, but only for 500ml cans in the Republic of Ireland, taking a further step toward fulfilling a pledge made in 2015 to provide such information for all of its products.

A 500ml can of Guinness contains 17 grams of alcohol, equating to 177 calories.

Diageo announced it would be providing nutritional information, including calories per typical serving, for all of its products in 2015, providing information through its responsible drinking website, and on product labels “subject to local regulatory approval, as soon as practicable.”

The latest expansion of Diageo’s pledge will see nutritional information, including calories, carbohydrates, protein and sugar as well as grams of alcohol per serve, on the pack of its 500ml cans of Guinness in the Republic of Ireland. It shows that a 500ml can of Guinness contains 17 grams of alcohol, equating to just 177 calories.

“Irish consumers want to make informed choices and increasingly they want to know what’s in their glass,” said Oliver Loomes, Diageo Ireland director

“At Diageo, we take enormous pride in our ability to listen to our consumers and bring them the great products they enjoy with the clear, concise and accurate information they can use to make the right choice for them.

“The new Guinness labels are part of our on-going commitment to engaging with and empowering Diageo consumers so they have the tools to make positive and informed choices about what they drink. While this is a global standard and will eventually feature across all brands in all markets the decision to expand to Guinness 500ml cans means that almost 40% of the Irish beer market will be covered by the new labelling standard, making Ireland a market leader in this regard.”

It follows a report published by the EU Commission in March that invited members of the drinks trade to present a self-regulatory proposal within one year to provide calorie and nutrition labelling on alcoholic beverages, avoiding the enforcement of a mandatory labelling system.

The decision will effectively close a loophole within a previous ruling that came into effect in 2011 which made it mandatory for all foods, including alcoholic beverages, to provide an ingredient and nutrition declaration, but which saw beverages carrying an abv of more than 1.2% exempt.

The report has called for the drinks trade to come up with a solution within a year, by March 2019, which will ultimately see producers subject to a self-regulatory nutritional labelling system, enforced by the EU, to provide calorie and nutritional information to consumers.

Many producers, including Diageo, Treasury and ABInBev, have already made promises to provide ingredient and nutritional information on a voluntary basis, while beer brand Tennents, owned by C&C Gleeson, became the first alcoholic product in the UK and Ireland to display calorie information on its packaging when it introduced calorie labelling last year.

As for Diageo, it has said calorie labelling will be rolled out on all of its products in Diageo products in Ireland in the next 12 months, with the new labelling already on Smithwicks, Johnnie Walker Red Label, and on Diageo’s new Irish Whiskey, Roe&Co, with brands distributed outside of Ireland set to follow.

Oliver Loomes, Diageo Ireland director


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