FOR YOUR INFORMATION
We share below recent developments. As always, we rely on FIVS Members to apprise us of noteworthy matters. Please contact the FIVS Secretariat with items that may be of interest.
- Germany: Frankfurt Court Characterises Hangovers as an Illness: The Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt recently ruled against displaying an advertisement for a drink claiming to cure such hangover symptoms as tiredness, headaches, and nausea. The court held that these symptoms were not naturally occurring, but resulted from “the consumption of alcohol, a harmful substance.”
- Moderate Alcohol Consumption may Help Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A recent analysis has shown that moderate consumption of alcohol may improve the metabolism of patients with this form of diabetes.
- More on Relative versus Absolute Risk: The consumption of alcohol has increasingly been presented in terms of relative rather than absolute risk. A newly released book by Professor Fabrizio Bucella of the Free University of Brussels puts risk into context and examines other “false truths” associated with alcohol beverages.
- Meat Study with Interesting Conclusions?: Studies recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine have contradicted guidelines about limiting the consumption of red and processed meats. The study found no evidence that consuming these meats was linked to heart disease or cancer. This study has in turn been the subject of an article late last week pointing out that its lead author had undisclosed research ties to the meat and food industries.
- United Kingdom – People are Being Urged to Give up Alcohol: There have been recent increases in so-called “sober shaming” and the number of people who are electing to abstain from drinking. One recent poll in the United Kingdom has shown that 61% of men are trying to reduce their consumption of alcohol in the face of increased peer pressure. Consumers are reportedly switching to no or low alcohol options and going out less frequently.
- United States – Alcohol-Free Trend: This piece discusses how millennials are increasingly abstaining from alcohol as they focus on health and other considerations (see also this study).
- United Kingdom – New Trade Show for low and no Alcohol Beverages: The reportedly first Low 2 no Bev Show will be held in London in response to the new trend in which consumers drink low and no alcohol beverages.
- WHO and FIFA Ink a Pact: The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the governing body of football, agreed on 04 October 2019 to a four-year collaboration to promote healthy lifestyles. The Memorandum of Understanding stipulates that the WHO will advise FIFA regarding the implementation of health policies relating to products such as alcohol.
- France – Changes to the Triman Logo?: FIVS has reported previously on the TRIMAN logo, which was introduced in 2014 in order to apprise the consumer about the need to sort packaging wastes. We have prepared a report on the consideration of this legislation, including a letter by the organisation Europen pointing out the increased costs and difficulties changes would pose for industry.
- India – Andhra Pradesh Government Moves towards Prohibition: As FIVS has reported, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy assumed office at the end of May 2019 on a platform that included a phased-in total ban on alcohol by 2024. The State Prohibition and State Excise Department has since imposed an additional retail tax of 10 rupees on every 60 ml bottle of Indian-Made Foreign Liquor spirits and imported spirits. Taxes on beer have increased by 20 rupees per 650 ml bottle. Privately-owned alcohol retailers must now close operations by 20h00 instead of 22h00. More than 1,000 licensed stores have also been closed. The excise department has recently announced plans for a total alcohol ban within a year, adding that it had recruited nearly 15,000 female constables across rural areas to monitor and enforce the new laws.
- Switching to “Plain Packaging” Could Cost the Drinks Industry Billions: This article describes a report detailing how the industry could lose as much as $430 billion if it switches to plain packaging (i.e., generic or homogeneous packaging with the removal of all branding). This piece suggests that the losses would be so significant as to call into question the existing business models of major alcohol beverage companies. This approach would also have severe impacts on related industries, such as design and advertising companies.
SOCIAL & ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY
- Scotland – MUP in Scotland Results in Increased Sales Near the Border: This study points to Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) as the cause of an overall decline in alcohol consumption, as well as a surge in sales near the border at Carlisle and Berwick. FIVS reported on the Scottish Government’s introduction of MUP in 2018 so as to curb Scotland’s consumption and to lower its death rates from alcohol-related diseases. This piece also notes though that the efficacy of an MUP approach is not discernible at this relatively early stage. There have been some other recent articles regarding an MUP approach.
- Scotland – MUP has an Impact on Alcohol Purchases: This recent study conducted by BMJ claims that MUP has led to the reduction in total off-trade alcohol purchases in grams of ethanol in Scotland.
- Russia – The Finance Ministry is considering Producers’ Call for MUP: The Union of Alcohol Producers recently asked the Russian Ministry of Finance to increase the current minimum retail price for vodka by 8.4%, from 215 to 233 rubles per half-liter. Others, such as brandy producers, have made similar requests.
- Australia – A Call for a National Minimum Price Based on the NT’s Price Policy: As we have reported, the Northern Territory (NT) Government enacted the first MUP scheme in Australia on 01 October 2018, setting the level at AUD $1.30 (USD $0.88). The Royal Australasian College of Physicians has again called for this approach to be adopted throughout the country, based on alleged declines in alcohol-related violence and injuries in the NT.