The debate related to the disclosure of nutritional content on food and drink has been ongoing for years. It seems as if every few months new legislation is introduced by politicians on “each side of the aisle” regarding this particular topic in order to ensure that labelling is either expanded or restricted depending upon their particular perspective. Although labelling has long been considered a battleground in the area of food products, the topic has recently migrated to the area of beverages, particularly alcoholic beverages.
Given the high caloric content of many popular alcoholic beverages, such as beer and mixed drinks, those who believe that new labelling policies should be incorporated into these beverages find no shortage of evidence validating their claims. In fact, the “proof” regarding the high caloric content of alcoholic beverages is likely something that many adults have, at one point or another, experienced themselves. Even the fact that the proverbial “beer gut” has become part of commonplace conversation is proof enough that these drinks may increase the likelihood of weight gain amongst those who enjoy them on a regular or semi-regular basis.
Advocates of label reform for alcoholic beverages are not seeking to increase awareness of the potential health dangers for those who drink excessive alcohol. Instead, focus is currently being focused on displaying information strictly related to caloric content for such drinks. It is the hope of label reform advocates that this new information will curb the drinking habits of adults who may have previously been living blissfully unaware of the exact consequences of their drinking habits.
The UK’s Local Government Associated continues to lobby for additional labelling mandates that would apply to drink manufacturers across the country. It will be quite interesting to observe whether or not such practices are, indeed, transformed into law. Given the fact that the UK currently has one of the highest obesity rates in Western Europe, there seems enough real-world evidence to prove that dire consequences of excessive alcoholic consumption do exist.
According to Izzy Secome, a representative of the LGA who volunteered to speak on behalf of the organisation, "The onus is on the big breweries to do more to provide clear and prominent labelling. Providing people with the right information allows them to make choices about what they eat and drink. Prevention is the only way we are going to tackle the obesity crisis, which is costing the NHS more than £5bn every year."