Simon Spillane / Director Communications and Public Affairs.
07/07/2011 | Society
Europe’s Brewers in support of well-informed consumers
The European Parliament’s vote today on the EU Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers almost brings to an end a decision making process that began in January 2008. Europe’s brewers fully endorse the objective of the legislation, namely the harmonisation of some essential rules to enable consumers to make more informed choices.
Brewers applaud the text’s principle of non-discrimination amongst the different types of alcoholic beverages. However, we also wish to point out brewers’ ongoing commitment to meeting our consumers’ demands for more information about our products. Testament to the brewers’ genuine wish for consumers to be well-informed about the nature of beer is the large number and variety of initiatives supported by brewers in the EU Member States to inform and educate consumers. Whilst labelling of ingredients and nutritional information, either through national legislation or voluntary initiatives, is common practise in a number of countries, other tools include booklets, websites, partnerships with nutritionists and point-of sale information.
It must be recalled that the label is not necessarily the best place to put all the information a consumer may seek when choosing a product. Indeed a survey(1) ordered by the European Commission clearly showed that consumers, if they read the label, are primarily interested in the beer’s gustatory quality, alcoholic strength and its origin or brand.
There exist a whole range of other communication means to reach consumers and satisfy their information wishes: from individual correspondence to carelines, point-of-sale information (leaflets, brochures, touch screens, code scanners, “smart” information) and internet. The label may often be better placed just to act as a vector redirecting consumers to other information sources with greater capacity to carry detailed and more personalised information.
Europe’s brewers have a shared challenge with the European Commission, namely to have well-informed consumers who consume beer responsibly. We are therefore committed to the expanded use of platforms that increase the information available to consumers, and to helping drive our consumers to these information sources. This will indeed be a contribution that Europe’s brewing sector will make to the report that the European Commission has been tasked with drafting in the next three years on how and whether alcoholic beverages should be covered by labelling provisions in common with other foodstuffs.
Simon Spillane: email@example.com +32 2 551 18 10
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About The Brewers of Europe
Founded in 1958 and based in Brussels, The Brewers of Europe – a not-for-profit European association – is the voice of the European brewing sector. Current members are the national brewers’ associations from EU Member States, plus Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. By providing over €51 billion in taxes to European governments and directly and indirectly employing over 2.1 million people, the brewing sector is a major contributor to European economy.