British Survey Says Wine Consumers Want Calorie Labels


The heyday of wine's hidden calories may be coming to an end in the United Kingdom.

This past week the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) released the results of a survey in which participants indicated they'd like to see calorie labels on wines and spirits.

Augmented labeling information means consumers will have better tools to make their quaffing choices, RSPH Chief Executive Shirley Cramer said in a release by the RSPH.

“Calorie labeling has been successfully introduced for a wide range of food products and there is now a clear public appetite for this information to be extended to alcohol to help individuals make more informed choices,” she said.
The health society's survey was based on questions related to various aspects of the caloric characteristics of wine and spirits.

According to the report, more than 60 percent of participants said they “actively support he addition of calorie labels on packaging of alcohol drinks.

More than four out of five responders could not correctly estimate the calorie content of a 250 mil glass of wine.

An even greater amount of participants – more than 90 percent – could not correctly estimate the amount of calories contained in pint of lager.

The survey comes in the wake of a recent my by the European Commission to ratify extending labeling on alcoholic beverages. Currently, alcoholic beverages do not have calorie statistics because they are not recognized as food and therefore do not fall under current European Commission regulations for food labeling.

Another factor in the UK's push to have calories labeled on wine bottles and other beverages is the regions continuing battle against adult obesity.

“With 2 in 3 adults overweight or obese and given that adults who drink get approximately 10 percent of their calories from alcohol, this move could make a major difference to waistlines of the nation,” Cramer said.

Along with the survey, the RSPH conducted an experiment in which researchers went to a pub to discover whether displaying calories on drink menus would alter the amount of alcohol patrons consumed.

The results were clear, the RSPH said.

“Those presented with calorie information each consumed on average 400 calories less than those who were oblivious to the calorie content of their drinks,” they said. “While only a small scale experiment, the participants did use the calorie information to inform their drink choices.”

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