When Regulation 1169/2011 was adopted, it was decided to temporarily exempt alcoholic beverages from the scope of regulation until the Commission conducted an assessment. While fully a part of the food sector, it was acknowledged that alcoholic beverages require a marginally different treatment to other foods when labelling energy and ingredients.
In its report published in March 2017, the Commission invited the sectors to “respond to consumers’ expectations and present within a year of adoption of this report a self-regulatory proposal [on ingredients and nutrition information] that would cover the entire sector of alcoholic beverages”.
After 12 months of intense discussions between seven European federations, a common voluntary commitment, with detailed implementation plans presented in four sector annexes, was presented on 12 March 2018 to the Health Commissioner, Vytenis Andruikaitis (Joint Press Release 12 March 2018).
The self-regulatory proposal consists of:
This proposal consists of a common umbrella voluntary commitment, with implementation plans laid out in each sector’s annex.
For spirits, the European spirits sector commits to providing nutrition and ingredient listing by 2022, thus sooner than if mandated by regulation. This will be done either on or off-label. Some companies in particular SMES, may opt for the off-label solution. Others may choose on label information, in addition to the information being available online.
Energy information will always be provided per portion (or single serve container) and, as required, per 100 ml. When using online platforms, we will go beyond the requirements of Regulation 1169/2011 and will provide:
- Full nutrition information for all spirits
- A list of ingredients, as well as the legal definition of every category giving consumers details of the raw materials and the production process.
Whether consumers choose to access information via this harmonised system, or company or brand websites, they will always be able to find everything they need to make informed purchasing decisions.
To show how serious spiritsEUROPE is the about the digital solution, has partnered with ETRC (European Travel Retail Confederation) in order to developed a pilot project making product information for our products directly accessible, in several languages, by scanning the barcode on the packaging via a smartphone, scanner facilities in-store and on-line. The pilot’s results will be available during the second half of 2018.
The European Commission will now review this proposal. As the regulation currently stands, spirits producers who wish to voluntarily put nutrition information on label must do so per 100ml, which represent more than three standard servings of spirits and contradict responsible drinking messages. This has been, and remains, a barrier for many operators when choosing where to display this information. Which is why we invite to Commission to consider:
- allowing energy per serving to be mentioned more prominently than the 100ml on spirits labels.
- requiring for all alcoholic beverages not usually consumed per 100ml the mention of energy per serving (or single serve container).