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Calories and ingredients to be listed by EU spirits

Spirits producers in the European Union have voluntarily pledged to implement measures that will provide consumers with ingredient and nutrition information by 2022.

Ingredients and calorie information will be available for spirits sold in the EU

The proposals have been submitted to health commissioner Vytenis Andruikaitis after the European Commission asked the drinks industry to suggest ways in which brands could provide consumers with consistent information on an EU-wide basis.

Following 12 months of negotiations between seven organisations, the EU alcoholic drinks industry has now committed to providing consumers with ingredient and nutrition information – including calorie content – either on- or off-label. The measures will be implemented over the next four years.

However, the industry is calling for the Commission to allow spirits producers to more prominently list calories per serving, as opposed to per 100ml, which is what the current regulation requires.

Ulrich Adam, director general of trade body Spirits Europe, said: “We ask the Commission to consider allowing energy on spirits labels to be given more prominently per serving size than per 100ml, but also to require that all alcoholic beverages not habitually consumed in 100ml servings provide energy / nutrition per serving.”

Spirits brands have committed to providing energy information per portion and per 100ml. In addition, when providing information online, producers will include the legal definition of each spirit category, including the raw materials and type of production process used.

This will allow distillers to list information in a “meaningful way” since spirits are produced in different ways using different ingredients, in accordance with the Spirits Drinks Regulation (110/2008) act.

The European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC) will also develop a pilot project to make multilingual product information directly accessible to consumers through barcodes on packaging, scanner facilities in store, or online. The results of the project will be announced in the second half of this year.

‘Serious’ approach

Spirits Europe calls the approach “serious, flexible and scalable”, and says it will allow the industry to provide “harmonised and consistent information”.

“Over the next four years, we will fully support our members in their efforts to provide nutrition and ingredient information,” added Spirits Europe’s Adam.

“Some companies, in particular the many SMEs active in our sector, may opt for online solutions. Others will choose to provide information on label, in addition to the information being available online.”

Steps to implement the commitment have been laid out in four sector ‘annexes’ relating to wine, beer, cider and spirits.

Under current plans, Spirits Europe will report to the Commission on its progression at regular intervals between March 2018 and 2022. The first progress report will be delivered in October 2019.

The Commission will now review the proposals put forward.

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