The Brewers of Europe and its members have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and committed, through a Brewers’ Ambition, to labelling ingredients and energy values on all beer bottles and cans in the EU by 2022.
The ambitious targets were voluntarily agreed with the European Commission and adopted by the General Assembly of The Brewers of Europe in June.
The signing ceremony was attended by The European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis who said:
I am delighted to be part of today’s event. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you for your commitments to alcohol labelling. And I also want to encourage you to continue being a pioneer around this issue in the wider alcohol sector. Consumers have a right to know more. Many of them want more details on what their drinks contain and what it means for their health. They want this information to be clear and transparent – a recurrent message we receive in all our public health and food safety work.
In the last four years, brewers have been voluntarily rolling out ingredients and energy labelling in full accordance with Regulation (EU) 1169/20111, setting ambitious targets along the way. As shown in the implementation report published today, Europe’s brewers have been making significant progress towards better consumer information, with 60% of beers already labelling calories, whilst 85% carry an ingredients list. With the signing by key countries of the MoU, those numbers will already grow significantly by next year.
The purpose of the MoU is that companies take public responsibility for the declaration of ingredients and energy information on the labels of their products, whilst trade associations support these efforts including through setting local sectoral ambitions and collective reporting.
The MoU is open to companies and associations from all alcoholic beverage sectors, provided that the signatory fully endorses the MoU and its commitment to the on-pack labelling of both ingredients and energy values. The ultimate wish is that consumers receive understandable, recognisable, comparable and accurate information for all alcoholic beverages.
“The main thing is to have information clearly displayed on the labels,” commented Mariann Skar, Secretary General of Eurocare. “We hope that by providing more information at least gives people a choice. We are praising the brewers because the information is on the label. Having off-label ingredients and calories, online, is just not good enough.”
Thirty-seven initial signatories, including 25 national brewers’ associations, put their name today to the MoU and the Brewers’ Ambition 2022, as part of an event that showcased hundreds of different beer brands from all over Europe that already meet the labelling requirements, demonstrating the breadth of the commitment and the increasing diversity of a European beer sector that now counts over 9500 breweries.
Signing for The Brewers of Europe, President Pavlos Photiades said: “I am delighted that EU Health Commissioner Andriukaitis has attended the official signing of the MoU and our Brewers’ Ambition 2022. This is a significant step in a process we started four years ago, demonstrating our members’ ambition to ensure all beers label ingredients and calories. Fulfilling this commitment, Europe’s brewing sector is meeting the expectations of consumers on how alcoholic beverages should be providing ingredients and calorie information”.