Customer calorie behaviour unclear, warns ALMR

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Responding to the call for calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks, the ALMR has praised the work of the licensed hospitality sector and warned at the lack of evidence relating to customer behaviour regarding calorie intake.

The Royal Society for Public Health has today published the results of a survey stating that two-thirds of respondents are in favour of the move.

ALMR Chief Executive, Kate Nicholls said: “The licensed hospitality sector is already playing its part in helping Government to address a range of health related issues through the Responsibility Deal, both collectively and individually, as well as to ensuring appropriate and relevant information is provided to customers.“

It is vital that we take an holistic approach to health rather than examining issues in isolation. Many of the ALMR’s members are already actively involved in calorie reduction initiatives to tackle obesity as well as alcohol pledges to improve public awareness of alcohol units and alcohol strength. The sector has also undertaken a billion-unit pledge to reduce intake and strength of house wine and to promote access to soft drinks. These are all more effective measure to educate consumers about overall alcohol consumption rather than a message related just to calories.”

“The link between calories and consumption is far from clear cut when it comes to eating out. Calorie labelling may impact on behaviour when food is viewed as fuel, but there is already evidence that this is not the case when people are celebrating or on an evening out. Customers will often save calories in some areas in order to indulge in others. What we do not want is a scenario whereby customers, particularly young women, are forgoing food in order to save calories for drinking or turning to higher strength products such as spirits in order to reduce calorie intake.”

“We simply don’t know enough about customer behaviour to be sure that calorie labelling will not encourage harmful patterns of consumption.”


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