UK – The Portman Group, a social responsibility organization representing alcohol producers in the UK, has introduced the first Alcohol Alternatives Guidance, aimed at ensuring responsible packaging and marketing of non-alcoholic alternatives.  

The guidance outlines principles to guarantee that these products are marketed and sold responsibly, particularly concerning their appeal to under-18s. 

The guidance emphasizes that as products targeted at adults, marketing efforts for alcohol alternatives should not appeal to individuals under the legal drinking age. 

Specifically, marketing depicting activities such as driving, playing sports, or engaging in risky behaviors after consuming an alcohol alternative must make it clear that the individual has chosen a non-alcoholic option. 

On a precautionary best practice basis, the guidance suggests avoiding depictions or references to the consumption of alcohol alternatives during pregnancy, recognizing that individuals who are or may be pregnant will make informed decisions about their beverage choices. 

Additional recommendations from the guidance include steering clear of associating alcohol alternatives with social or sexual success, refraining from using images of individuals who appear to be under the age of 25, and ensuring that the product’s marketing does not cause serious or widespread offense. 

Dame Andrea Leadsom, Public Health Minister, said, “I welcome the publication of this marketing guidance for alcohol alternatives, and the commitment of producers to market and sell these products responsibly to adult consumers.” 

This initiative aligns with evolving consumer trends, as indicated by recent YouGov research commissioned by the Portman Group.  

The research revealed that over a third (35%) of alcohol drinkers now identify as occasional or regular consumers of alcohol alternatives, with a significant 44% among 18–24-year-olds. Additionally, almost a quarter (23%) of UK drinkers reported a decrease in alcohol consumption due to the availability of low and no-alcohol products. 

Matt Lambert, CEO of the Portman Group, expressed the organization’s commitment to responsible marketing in response to the rising popularity of alcohol alternatives, stating, “As evidenced by our research, alcohol alternatives have seen a huge increase in popularity in recent years, and the Portman Group has responded by creating new marketing principles to help producers market these products responsibly.” 

The Portman Group is the social responsibility body and regulator for alcohol labelling, packaging and promotion in the UK. Founded in 1989, it has over 160 code signatories from producers, retailers and membership bodies and it is funded by 19 industry leading member companies. 

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