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Will Wine Labels Have to Include Calorie Content?

Health minister, Anna Soubry, has said that officials have been in talks with the drinks industry about including calorie content on labels for alcoholic drinks. An official study by the Drink Aware Trust has linked the high calories of alcoholic drinks to people being overweight and obese. The thinking behind the suggestion of labelling the calorie content is that it would encourage people who watch their weight to moderate their consumption.

Mrs Soubry revealed the talks about calorie labels in a parliamentary question by Andrew Rosindell, the Conservative MP for Romford, saying that the Government is “committed to improving the labelling of alcoholic drinks” and that:

The Department has discussed the possible inclusion of calorie content on labels with representatives of the alcohol industry on a number of occasions.”

She added there is a chance the European Commission could suggest mandatory calorie information on alcoholic drinks when it reviews the issue within two years.

However the Government’s preferred method of getting companies to provide more health information is through “responsibility deals” which are voluntary agreements.

The Drinks Business reports that retailers including Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco are working with the Department of Health on how to display calorie counts on alcohol and the Co-Op already includes calorie information on its own brand beer, wine, cider and spirits.

The Telegraph reports that a Department of Health spokesperson said that:

“By the end of this year, 80 per cent of all alcoholic drinks on shop shelves will include clear labelling on units and health messages.”

There are quite a few startling comparisons given by the alcohol education charity Drink Aware and the Government such as 2 large glasses (250ml) of wine have about the same amount as a beefburger at 400 calories, lager can be as fattening as a slice of pizza at around 250 calories per pint and a single 25ml measure of spirits has more calories than the same amount of single cream. BUT it’s important to remember the size of the glass, the % of alcohol (abv) and the size of the measure in this instance and I have listed a basic rule of thumb below:

Beers and Cider
Bitter 1 pint 182
Stout 1 pint 210
Pale Ale 1 pint 182
Lager 1 pint 170
Sweet Cider 1 pint 220
Dry Cider 1 pint 190

Spirits
Whiskey 25ml 55
Gin 25ml 55
Brandy 25ml 55
Rum 25ml 55
Vodka 25ml 55
Pernod 25ml 35
Tia Maria 25ml 39
Bacardi 25ml 55
Malibu 25ml 51
Baileys 25ml 87
Drambuie 25ml 46
Martini 25ml 44
Port 25ml 40
Southern Comfort 25ml 46

Sherry
Dry Sherry 25ml 28
Medium Sherry 25ml 30
Sweet Sherry 25ml 35

Wine and Champagne
Champagne 125ml 95
Sparkling Wine 125ml 95
Red Wine 125ml 85
Rosé 125ml 89
Dry White Wine 125ml 83
Medium White Wine 125ml 94
Sweet White Wine 125ml 118

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