European brewing industry commits to listing calories on beer by 2022

Members of industry body Brewers of Europe have committed to adding ingredients and calorie counts to all beer labels within the next three years.

The members, which include national groups such as the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and Irish Brewers Association (IWA), have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and committed to adding an ingredients list and calorie count and all beer bottles and cans by 2022.

The targets were voluntarily agreed with the European Commission and adopted by the General Assembly of The Brewers of Europe in June.

37 initial signatories, including 25 national brewers’ associations, put their name to the MoU and the Brewers’ Ambition 2022 at an event in Brussels on 5 September.

The association hopes that consumers will have access to “understandable, recognisable, comparable and accurate information for all alcoholic beverages,” according to a statement.

“The main thing is to have information clearly displayed on the labels,” Mariann Skar, secretary general of Eurocare, said.

“We hope that by providing more information at least gives people a choice. We are praising the brewers because the information is on the label. Having off-label ingredients and calories, online, is just not good enough.”

The MoU comes after a report published by the EU Commission in 2017 that invited members of the drinks trade to present a self-regulatory proposal on calorie and nutrition labelling for alcoholic beverages, in an effort to avoid enforcing compulsory labelling.

The decision effectively closed a loophole that was created by an earlier ruling, which came to effect in 2011. Mandatory for all foods, including alcoholic beverages, have to provide an ingredient and nutrition information under EU law, but beverages carrying an ABV of more than 1.2% are exempt.

A number of brewers have already started to include this information on their products. Diageo added nutritional and calorie information to packs of 500ml cans of Guinness in Ireland in 2017.

AB InBev also added prominent nutritional information to packs of Bud Light in January this year, making it the first beer brand in the US to do so.

Beer brand Tennents, owned by C&C Gleeson, became the first alcoholic product in the UK and Ireland to display calorie info on its packaging in 2016.

Heineken also announced it would list nutritional information on its cider brand’s bottles in the UK, having changed the recipe for Bulmers Original to reduce its sugar content by 30%.

There are close to 9,500 breweries currently operating across Europe, according to the association, which represents brewing trade bodies in 29 European countries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

We encourage debate in the comments section and always welcome feedback, but if you spot something you don't think is right, we ask that you leave an accurate email address so we can get back to you if we need to.

Subscribe to our newsletters

The Global Riesling Masters 2019

Deadline : 20th December 2019

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2020

Deadline : 31st January 2020

Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2019

View Results

Rioja Masters 2019

View Results

Click to view more

Subscribe today to get each issue of The Drinks Business as soon as it's published, plus all the latest breaking news and access to our library of back issues.

Subscribe Today!

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news about the international spirits industry every weekday lunchtime (GMT)