Alcohol labelling requirements
Alcoholic drinks have long been exempt from ingredient and nutrition labelling. However, it is possible to provide this information voluntarily, in line with FIC (Food Information for Consumers regulation) rules. Currently alcoholic drinks may declare energy only or have a full declaration.
Following a request from the European Commission in 2017, the alcoholic drinks sector submitted proposals in March 2018 for their self-regulatory code for providing ingredient and nutrition information. The proposals, which are currently being assessed by the Commission, establish guiding principles that will apply to all sectors, while each of the beer, wine, spirits and cider sectors have published specific annexes on how they will provide this information.
The guiding principles consist of commitments to:
- Provide nutrition and ingredient information “in a meaningful way”
- Provide nutrition and ingredient information off and/or on label
- When provided off label, ensuring that the information is easily accessible (e.g. weblink or QR code)
- Possibly develop “comprehensive modern information systems”
- Food businesses decide how to display the information
- While abiding to EU and national regulation, additional information will be provided according to sector annexes
- The alcoholic drink sectors will report on implementation in 2021 (after two years)
International nutrition labelling requirements
Markets outside the European Union have different rules on nutrition labelling for alcoholic beverages. For example, in the United States, nutrition labelling is mandatory for ciders and wines below 7% alcohol by volume, as such products must follow prescriptive rules set by the Food and Drug Administration. Most alcoholic beverages in the United States fall under the jurisdiction of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, who have provided information (in Ruling 2013-2) on how the growing number of businesses wishing to voluntarily provide such information may give information on calorie, carbohydrate, protein and fat content in their alcoholic beverages (such as those doing so under the Beer Institute pledge to provide such information by end of 2020). Increasing numbers of brewers in Australia are also providing nutrition information voluntarily, declared on a per serving and per 100ml basis. Russian regulations require the declaration of any nutrients that contribute greater than 2% of the reference daily intake.