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Government “Must Go Further” to Encourage Low and No Alcohol Uptake, Urges Portman Group

The government is being urged to do more to encourage the uptake of low & no alcohol drinks and launch a consultation on low-alcohol descriptors.

Industry watchdog Portman Group has called for a consultation seeking views on updating the terminology around the different ways in which products below 1.2% abv are marketed.

Portman Group is hoping to build on years of growing UK sales and consumer interest in the low & no category beyond its traditional post-festive boost.

A YouGov consumer survey reveals that over one quarter (29%) of alcohol drinkers anow also drink no/low alcohol alternatives, compared to almost a third (32%) in 2021 and a quarter (25%) in 2020.

The top reasons named for drinking low and no alcohol are being able to drive home safely from social events and taking part in social events.

Those that plan to reduce alcohol consumption in 2023 said they will drink fewer alcoholic drinks at home (37%), have more alcohol-free days (30%) and 25% said they plan to stop drinking at home altogether.

“The variety and availability of low and no alcoholic drinks has never been stronger, reflecting a huge increase in consumer popularity,” chief executive of the Portman Group, Matt Lambert said.

He added: “The vast majority of consumers already drink responsibly within the Chief Medical Officer guidelines, but it is particularly pleasing to see evidence that low and no options are playing a role in encouraging people to moderate their drinking.

“We are calling on the government to launch the low-alcohol descriptors consultation this year to give further support to the low and no alcohol sector,” Lambert said.

“It has been expected for nearly two years but given the turbulent political year this hasn’t been prioritised. This is an important review which should see alignment with global descriptors and give another push to this innovative category which is an active substitute for alcohol and supports moderate drinking.”