More essential information for consumers
Beer calories to be printed on labels
Member companies of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry in Finland will include nutrition labels on all the mild alcoholic beverages they produce. In future, beer labels will indicate their energy, protein, carbohydrate and fat content. Consumers will then find it easier to estimate their energy intake from beverages in addition to the energy they consume as food. Some beverages already feature such labelling, but once this reform has been implemented, consistent nutrition information will be provided on all beverages, including beer. Hartwall, Olvi, Sinebrychoff and Nokian Panimo will introduce nutrition labelling on their beverages by the end of 2010 as part of their ordinary container renewal process.
In future, consumers will be able to look at the label on a beer bottle to see, for instance, how many calories they have consumed, just like they do with other foodstuffs. A nutrition label indicates the energy content of the beverage in kilojoules and kilocalories as well as its protein, carbohydrate and fat content per 100 ml. The new labels will make it easier for consumers to keep tabs on their energy intake.
According to the General Food Law Regulation, nutrition labelling on alcoholic beverages is compulsory only when a nutritional claim is made in a sales context. For this reason, nutrition labels are already provided on light beverages and gluten-free beer, for example. Nutrition labelling is compulsory on non-alcoholic beverages.
The European Parliament is currently considering a proposal for a new regulation on the provision of food information to consumers, which seeks to improve the product information provided to consumers and make this information consistent on all foods. The proposal sets forth nutrition labelling for alcoholic beverages as well. However, the proposal is still under consideration and the final outcome is open.
“The brewing industry’s introduction of nutrition labelling on alcoholic beverages is voluntary. We seek to move ahead and standardise practices to include all types of beverages, regardless of the EU’s decision-making schedule, because information on nutrition content is of major significance to consumers,” says Timo Jaatinen, Managing Director of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry. “Beer should be enjoyed in moderation, and for this reason it’s good to be aware of its energy content as well.”
Beer is a mild alcoholic beverage, and as such is quite low in calories. For instance, 100 ml of 4.5% ABV lager has 35-45 kilocalories on average. Furthermore, beer does not contain any fat.
In 2005, member companies of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry introduced voluntary ingredient labels on their mild alcoholic beverage containers. Provisions on the labelling of alcoholic beverage containers are laid down in food legislation, the Alcohol Act and other legislation.
Communications Manager Katri Tuulensuu, tel. +358 (0)9 1488 7601, GSM +358 (0)40 777 1938
Managing Director Timo Jaatinen, tel. +358 (0)9 1488 71
The Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry promotes the interests of producers of beer, cider, long drinks, soft drinks and mineral waters in Finland. Its members are Oy Hartwall Ab, Nokian Panimo Oy, Olvi Oyj and Oy Sinebrychoff Ab. The Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry operates in connection with the Finnish Food and Drink Industries Federation and is among the four largest industries in the food and drink branch in terms of the value of production.