In an Australian beer industry first, the nation's leading brewer, Lion, will add nutrition information panels to bottles and cartons across its entire wholly-owned Australian beer portfolio – meaning 887 million bottles of beer will carry helpful information on sugar, preservative, calorie (kilojoule) and carbohydrate content every year, starting from August 2015.
The new labelling is the first stage of a long-term initiative called -Beer the Beautiful Truth', designed to bust common myths about beer and communicate the facts – among them, that Lion's wholly-owned Australian beers are preservative-free and most are on average 99.9% sugar-free.
The voluntary initiative, which complements existing standard drinks and pregnancy labelling, was informed by consumer research showing 87 percent of Aussies don't know what goes into beer1, and 73 percent want more information on the beers they drink.
Matt Tapper, Marketing Director of Lion's Australian beer business says: 'Despite the fact beer is still the drink of choice for most Australians, our knowledge of how it's made and what's in it is pretty patchy.
'Most people think beer is full of sugar and preservatives, when in actual fact our beers are preservative-free and most are on average 99.9% sugar-free.
'We want to fill in the gaps for beer drinkers."
Lion's research shows that when it comes to their favourite tipple Australians want to know about sugar (76%), carbohydrates (52%) and calories (47%).
Mr Tapper says: 'Positively, 7 in 10 also say that if this information was available it would help them make more informed drinking choices – such as choosing an option with a lower sugar, carb or calorie content, or moderating their alcohol intake.
'Labelling transparency is not only an important first step in educating people about beer, but also in supporting them to make more informed choices about what and how they choose to drink.
'This builds on Lion's continued investment over more than two decades in the light and mid strength categories of the beer market, with lower strength options now accounting for close to 1 in 4 beers consumed in Australia – providing plenty of choice for those looking to moderate alcohol consumption, without sacrificing flavour."
The initiative is the first of its scale in Australia and will also include a communications program to broaden drinkers' knowledge. The new labelling will initially roll out on Lion's biggest beer brands, including XXXX, Tooheys, Hahn, James Squire and a range of smaller brands, covering more than 90 per cent of the brewer's total owned beer volume. The remaining wholly-owned Australian beers will be updated over the coming months.
'Rest assured, this is about providing the facts about our beers, not about changing the beers themselves," finished Mr Tapper.
Dr Sam Hay, a leading Sydney General Practitioner and former doctor in the Australian Army, welcomed the initiative.
'Like many things in life alcohol consumption is about balance and moderation. The easier it is for people to enjoy a drink with their mates as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle the better, and increased transparency is an important step in that direction."
Catherine Saxelby, a leading dietitian, believes that the voluntary introduction of nutritional information labelling on beer is a positive step for the Australian alcohol industry.
'Adults are becoming more aware of how important it is to read nutritional labels on food, but they often forget to consider that drinking alcohol can also impact their daily nutrition intake.
'It's not uncommon for people to underestimate the number of calories in the drinks they consume, so having nutritional information on alcohol products will enable people to enjoy a drink, while still being mindful of how it can fit within a moderate healthy lifestyle," said Ms Saxelby.
Additional Findings Friom The 2015 Galaxy Survey:
Women (71%) are more likely than men (56%) to consider nutritional information when choosing an alcohol beverage
Having sugar content appear on nutrition information labels is especially important to women (80%)
Most people (94%) overestimate the amount of sugar in beer
Only 6% are aware that there is generally less than half a gram of sugar in a 375ml stubby of full strength beer. Most people think there is at least double the actual amount of sugar in beer that there actually is
For more information visit: www.beerthebeautifultruth.com.
Lion is a leading beverage and food company with a portfolio that includes many of Australia and New Zealand's favourite brands. We employ over 7,000 people across Australia and New Zealand and take great pride in our local manufacturing footprint, which spans 36 sites across the Tasman – including large breweries, craft breweries, wineries, dairy farms, milk, cheese, yoghurt and juice sites as well as hospitality venues and over 40 Liquor King retail outlets in New Zealand.
We are one of the region's largest purchasers of agricultural goods and an integral component of the retail, hospitality and tourism industries, with a total direct plus indirect contribution to the Australian and New Zealand economies estimated at more than $5 billion annually.
We build marketplace success from the foundations of great people and great brands, with a portfolio of household-name brands such as Tooheys, Dairy Farmers, Steinlager, Tasmanian Heritage, XXXX, PURA, Hahn, Berri, Speight's, King Island Dairy, James Boag & Son, Dare, Yoplait, Wither Hills, St Hallett and COON.
We believe the reach of our brands means we can play a direct role in improving the food and beverage choices of consumers, and through reformulation, better-for-you innovation, broadening choice and labelling transparency we aim to do just that.
Through our beer business we continue to invest in lower-than-full-strength categories, with our flagship mid-strength beer XXXX GOLD now the biggest beer by volume in the country. XXXX GOLD has blazed a trail for Lion to innovate across our broader portfolio to bring down the average alcohol by volume of new products in every segment of the market. www.lionco.com