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Clear-headed but confused? How the ‘low and no alcohol’ category lacks clarity

It is unsurprising if consumers are confused. This is an area of regulation where the UK has difference requirements to the EU, and therefore great care should be taken regarding product labelling.

You can read the full article HERE 

Food Labelling Services comments:

The terms 'Low Alcohol' and 'Alcohol Free' were embedded in UK law in the Food Labelling Regulations 1996. This was national regulations for the UK, and has been retained through the transition to the Food Information Regulations (EU) 1169/2011 and Brexit. The criteria in the UK are as detailed below:

Low-alcohol – No more than 1.2% ABV.

De-alcoholised – No more than 0.5% ABV, drinks where alcohol has been extracted

Alcohol-free – No more than 0.05% ABV, drinks where alcohol has been extracted

Non-alcoholic – not to be used for products with a name commonly associated with an alcoholic drink, like ‘beer’ or ‘gin’. (Except for communion or sacramental wine).

However, in many EU states, Alcohol Free drinks can contain up to 0.5%ABV. 

There has been lobbying for parity with the EU, but to date, without success. Prior to Brexit, an EU low alcohol beer with an ABV of 0.5% could be traded in the UK under 'Mutual Recognition' or the 'Cassis de Dijon' principle. However, now that hte UK is no longer part of the EU. this exclusion has become exempt.

This category is growing exponentially, and in our opinion, the categorisation of no and low alcohol drinks should be clearer to the consumer, to ensure that education in this sector is improved.