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Over 80% of alcohol product complaints are about appealing to children

Four in five complaints about alcoholic marketing and packaging in 2022 were concerned with their appeal to under-18s, a new report by the UK’s Portman Group has found.

Over 80% of alcohol product complaints are about appealing to children

The Industry’s Independent Complaints Panel reviewed more complaints about products appealing to under 18s in 2022 than any other category, a new alcohol sector report has found, amounting to 85% of the complaints made.

However, the vast majority (76%) of complaints were not upheld, indicating a strong alignment between producers in the sector and the Code of Practice.

The report also revealed that producers are more likely to seek advice and guidance from the Portman Group’s Advisory Service under the Code rule on particular appeal to under-18s (29%) than any other category, demonstrating increased awareness and proactivity from producers to ensure responsible marketing and labelling practices.

Matt Lambert, CEO of the Portman Group, said: “As a self-regulatory body, we work effectively with a responsible sector to ensure that we eliminate irresponsible marketing, and discourage under 18s from being attracted to alcohol. There are a number of practical industry schemes which have been hugely effective in reducing the occurrence of underage drinking in the UK, and the Portman Group is proud to stand with them in playing our role in reducing harmful drinking. This is an approach that we know works, with many producers using their brands to showcase responsibility messages at major events, for example.

“It is positive to see producers continuing to take advantage of our Advisory Service to ensure that their products comply with the Portman Group’s Codes of Practice, and we encourage others to do so to help eliminate underage drinking.”

This increase in complaints coincides with a fall in underage drinking worldwide.

Read our interview with Portman Group CEO Matt Lambert here, where he talks the drinks business through fighting the corner of the alcohol industry as governments try to clamp down on it.

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