Alcohol

Partnerships with the alcohol industry at the expense of public health

Partnerships between public health agencies and industries which trade in potentially harmful products or activities – such as the recently announced and much criticised partnership between Public Health England (PHE) and the alcohol industry-funded body, Drinkaware – risk delaying or preventing effective policies to improve population health, say public health scientists Mark Petticrew, Martin McKee and Theresa Marteau in their Lancet Comment, published online on September 20th 2018. The authors say that such partnerships with industry promote voluntary models of harm reduction which are largely ineffective and are likely to benefit the relevant industries rather than improving the health of the nation. They conclude by recommending that PHE should work with the public health community to redefine its relationships with industry.

Professor Dame Theresa Marteau is Director of the (BHRU) at the University of Cambridge.

Partnerships with the alcohol industry: furthering industry interests at the expense of public health. Petticrew M, Marteau TM, McKee M. Lancet.

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to read the full comment.

How do regular drinkers perceive wines and beers labelled as lower in strength?

In a sample of 3390 weekly wine and beer drinkers, published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 30th August 2018, we assessed the impact of labelling wine and beer with different verbal descriptors denoting lower strength, with and without %ABV, on product appeal and understanding of strength.

Products labelled with verbal descriptors denoting lower alcohol strength (Low and Super Low) had less appeal than Regular (average) strength products.

Impact on product appeal of labeling wine and beer with (a) lower strength alcohol verbal descriptors and (b) percent alcohol by Vol. (%ABV): An experimental study.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Vasiljevic, M., Couturier, D.-L., & Marteau, T. M. (2018).

Access full text.

What is the impact of labelling wine and beer as lower in alcohol strength?

The aim of the present study was to assess the impact of lower strength alcohol labelling on consumption.

We found that the total amount of wine and beer consumed increased as the label on the drink denoted successively lower alcohol strength. Individual differences in drinking patterns and socio-demographic indicators did not affect these results.

Impact of lower strength alcohol labeling on consumption: A randomized controlled trial. Vasiljevic M, Couturier DL, Frings D, Moss AC, Albery IP, Marteau TM, 2018

Access full text

How are low/er strength wine and beer products marketed online?

Our study compared the main marketing messages conveyed by retailers and producers for low/er and regular strength wine and beer products in the UK.

We found that compared with regular strength wines and beers, low/er strength products were more often marketed in association with occasions deemed to be suitable for their consumption including lunchtimes, outdoor events/barbeques, or on sports and fitness occasions.

Access full text

Would increasing the price of sugary soft drinks influence purchases of alcohol?

The UK Government levy on sugary drinks producers began in April 2018, potentially influencing the cost of a large range of non-alcoholic beverages. This study looked at how increasing the price of non-alcoholic drinks could influence purchases of alcoholic drinks,…