Letter to the editor-New alcoholic drink labels misleading


22-May-2009

Their labelling can cause serious confusion among consumers, some of whom can take the alcoholic ones without realising it.

At the very least, our recommendation is that the alcohol-based drinks need to be repackaged so that no consumer can mistake them for the non-alcoholic variety. The minimum change needed would be to use a new front label of a different colour and design, with a very prominent declaration that it is an alcoholic beverage.

The two brands are Freez and Buzz. They are packaged very similarly to non-alcoholic drinks with the same colour and number of labels, the same design layout, the same crowns and they have the same range of flavours.

One is non-alcoholic, however, and the other has 5.5% alcohol. It is easy to believe young consumers could make the mistake of buying the alcoholic brand, or could drink it at home without parents noticing it is the alcoholic variant.

On the flipside, it would also be no leap of faith to imagine consumers of the alcoholic variety buying the other by accident. Either way, without acting to resolve this issue we will not be protecting those who choose not to drink.

Swift action is needed so we do not undo so much of the good work we have started in the fight against illicit brews, strong brands and poorly labelled brands.

Alcohol Media Education Committee

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