nutritional info

Example from a current beer label with nutritional information from the Netherlands.

The Local Government Association of the U.K. has renewed a push for alcohol producers to label beverages with caloric information. The association says the labels are necessary because the public is largely unaware of the amount of empty calories in alcohol, which may be related to high obesity levels in the country. Associations Now reports that the Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils responsible for public health in England and Wales, has called for alcohol producers to post caloric information on all bottles and cans. Associations Now quotes LGA Community Wellbeing Spokeswoman Izzi Seccombe: “Most people are aware that excessive alcohol can lead to serious health problems like liver and heart damage, and an increased risk of cancer,” (...)  “However, the amount of calories from an average night’s drinking isn’t so well-known. People should be able to make informed choices.” The news article by Associations Now can be found here: CALORIE INFORMATION NEEDED ON ALCOHOLIC DRINKS, GROUP SAYS
EUCAM was surprised to learn that apparently UK brewers are not putting nutritional information on their products, since last year the Brewers of Europe tooted their own horn about their voluntary labeling scheme, in which they include nutritional information per 100 mg (which even their colleagues of Spirits Europe called misleading). We could not find any information (except broken links) about this subject on the website of the British Beer and Pub Association. Update 01/12/16: In a reaction on Twitter the Brewers of Europe explained that the nutritional labels are still being rolled out through Europe. They did not yet give a date for implementation of the nutritional labels in the UK.
Source: Associations Now 5/1/15
In a ruling that once again proves the ineffectiveness of the self-regulatory system, the Dutch Media Commissariat has said that Radio and TV spots for the alcohol free Amstel 0.0 beverage should be seen as advertising for an alcohol producer and as such should not have been allowed to be broadcast before 9PM according to the Media law of 2008.   Please take a look at the Amstel 0.0 commercial below: The complaint was filed in May 2014 by EUCAM, the European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing, which operates out of the Netherlands. Alcohol Commercial or Not? In our complaint to the Media Commissariat we argued that the spot which advertised the alcohol free product Amstel 0.0, was in fact also advertising the brand name ‘Amstel’ which predominantly produces alcoholic beverages. Our argumentation for this was based on the definition of advertising as described in Article 1 of the Media law as well as Article 1 of the Dutch Advertising Code. Secondly, we argued that the content of the advertisement actually refers to the alcoholic beverages of the same brand. Near the end of the commercial the voiceover says that the “natural mix of Amstel beer and lemon juice” is now also available alcohol free. We also referred to an earlier case from 2010, in which a TV spot for Bavaria 0.0% was classified as an alcohol commercial for referring too strongly to the alcoholic beverage of the same brand. The Media Commissariat in its verdict explained that the Media law prohibits alcohol advertising on TV and radio between 6AM and 9PM, in order to protect children from alcohol marketing exposure. Because of a direct reference to the alcoholic beverage of the same brand, the spot works to appeal to alcoholic beverages and should according to the verdict, not have been broadcasted during the watershed timeslot. Because of this, the Commissariat has contacted the media institutes that have wrongfully broadcasted the commercial during the daytime to discuss the compliance with the media law and explain how the commercial may have exposed children to alcohol advertising. It has also pointed out that breaches of the media law can result in penalties. The Commissariat has also updated the text about alcohol advertising in the frequently asked questions on their website to clear up any ambiguity. Failing of Self-Regulation The complaint to the Media Commissariat was filed at the same time as a complaint about the same advertisement to the Advertising Code Commission (Reclame Code Commissie), the self-regulatory body of the Dutch advertising industry. This complaint letter used largely the same arguments, but went into more details about the content of the commercial, in accordance with the more qualitative character of the Advertising Code. The Advertising Code Commission rejected the complaint on all grounds. One of the arguments in the verdict of the Advertising Code Commission was that, while the sport commentators can be heard to think that the cyclist is drinking beer, this is nonetheless no alcohol commercial, because the comedic scenario of the commercial is so unrealistic, that it would be abundantly clear to the viewers that the characters in the commercial are not actually drinking beer. Furthermore, the Commission’s verdict also states that because of the inclusion of the figure 0.0 throughout the commercial this commercial is clearly dedicated to an alcohol free product. The Commission however, overlooks what the Media Commissariat finds damning about this commercial: The clear and direct reference in the voiceover to the alcoholic beverage Amstel beer. This once again shows the need for independent institutions to manage legally mandatory alcohol marketing regulations, instead of relying on self-regulation which is more concerned with their own vested interests then consumer protection. It also shows the problems of content restrictions in that the question of whether or not this commercial should be classified as an alcohol commercial leads to a considerable and unsatisfying discussion.
A complaint about irresponsible alcohol advertising has been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) following a complaint made by the Youth Alcohol Advertising Council, a group of young people working with the charity Alcohol Concern. Heineken UK Ltd has been told their YouTube advert for Strongbow breached responsible advertising regulations. The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council, who review alcohol advertising against key principles of the Advertising Standards Code, challenged whether the advert portrayed alcohol as indispensable or as taking priority in life. The decision comes at the same time Heineken have also had to remove their Bulmer’s Cider promotion with Converse trainers following another complaint made by Alcohol Concern. All point of sale promotional material has been removed, and advertising has been ceased after it was agreed by the Portman Group that the nature of the advertising, visuals and competition appealed to children and young people. Tom Smith, Head of Policy at Alcohol Concern said: “Not only is it appalling that a company such as Heineken UK, with marketing budgets of millions, is failing to comply with the advertising codes, but it’s left to young people to spot these adverts and highlight these failings. “We already know that exposure to alcohol marketing increases drinking amongst children and young people. This age group spends more time online, particularly on social media than any other – where regulations aren’t monitored tightly enough. “These big companies clearly can’t be trusted, so to better protect children and tackle patterns of alcohol harm, we need urgent reform of the alcohol advertising regime. We need regulation independent from the advertising and drinks industries, with consequences such as fines that genuinely deter companies from breaking the rules in the first place.” In response to the ruling, Fiona Bruce MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm, said: “It is absolutely critical that we protect young people from the effects of alcohol harm, to which they are particularly vulnerable as their organs are still developing. “I pay tribute to the Youth Alcohol Advertising Council for taking this strong action, which is in line with a trend that increasingly young people are becoming aware of the impact of drinking too much, and indeed many are deciding not to drink at all in their teenage years. We know that the later you start drinking, the fewer problems are likely to occur. We need to give them as much support as possible.”
  The above was copied verbatim from the media release by Alcohol Concern>>
EUCAM signalised new trends in alcohol marketing in a youth friendly sporting context in 8 European countries. alcohol marketing during the world cup
The recent FIFA World Cup in 2014 was an excellent opportunity for alcohol producers worldwide to promote their products and experiment with new media strategies. A frequency analysis suggests an alcohol brand reference was visible every minute during six analysed matches broadcasted on Brittish TV (1). EUCAM, the European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing, analysed the various marketing techniques used by the alcohol industry during the World Cup. Examples of these strategies were collected by EUCAM focus points in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Spain and England. The results have been published in a trend report. One of the main conclusions is that the relative share of internet based new media advertising seems to become bigger compared to that of the traditional media.

Cross-media campaigns dominate the alcohol marketing scene 
Cross-media campaigns are certainly no new addition to alcohol marketing. However during the 2014 FIFA World Cup it was striking to see the intensive strategic relationship between all the different forms of media like television, promotional world cup packaging, specific promotional items and social media. 

Another clear trend was that of in-store ads and world cup promotional packaging. These marketing practices were working in tandem to get people attracted to promotional items, which in turn had to lead to more people buying beer in order to obtain these items. 

More exposure of alcohol marketing leads to more adolescent drinkers
The report of EUCAM also strongly shows how the alcohol industry ties sports to drinking alcohol, and how it sells to millions of young and older people the idea that you can’t enjoy one without the other. A proven consequence of this enormous exposure of alcohol marketing is that it leads to adolescents starting to drink earlier and to drink more if they had already started drinking (2-3). Additionally, the ownership of promotional items, such as discussed in this report, correlates significantly with adolescents drinking (2-5).

Need for comprehensive regulations
The report shows that the alcohol industry within the existing alcohol marketing (self) regulation has enough space to create advertising which is attractive to young people and is actively exposed to young people. One conclusion is that regulations aimed at traditional media don’t work for new media, and partially regulating one medium also doesn’t work. This shows the need for a comprehensive measure, such as a total ban on alcohol marketing if we as a society want to protect our children from the harmful effects of exposure to all the different faces of alcohol marketing.

The report can be downloaded here. For questions or comments about the report, please contact Gerard van der Waal at

Below is an overview of international alcohol branded TV spots that tied into the World Cup: Worldwide UK UK Belgium Croatia the Netherlands the Netherlands