The UK population could be encouraged to buy alcohol-free and low alcohol drinks under a new government proposal.
This comes after the government opened a public consultation regarding potential changes to labelling guidance for no and low-alcohol alternatives.
The proposal aims to help people make healthier choices while also continuing to support businesses by making alternatives to alcoholic drinks more widely available.
As is the case in the USA, New Zealand, Germany and Australia, drinks containing 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) could become labelled as alcohol free. The threshold in the UK is currently 0.05%.
In addition, no and low-alcohol drinks will become easier to buy in an attempt to make alcohol alternative drinks more popular. The proposal will see people encouraged to buy alcohol-free drinks in venues such as pubs, restaurants and shows.
This comes after the Health Survery for England 2021 found that a fifth of adults in England drink above the recommended weekly limit of 14 units. This amounts to around 10 million people.
Drinking above this limit can significant increase the risk of harm, ill-health, poorer quality of live, and death, the Department of Health states.
As a result, the consultation is also seeking views on how to support those looking to control their alcohol consumption with a wider range of alcoholic alternatives.
The government also believes this proposal could potentially ‘drive the productivity of businesses’, allowing them to benefit from the multi-billlion-pound drinks market. This is because they will be able to manufacture low and no-alcohol drinks more easily.
Neil O’Brien is the public health minister. He said: ‘No and low-alcohol drinks are getting more and more popular, and we are looking to further support their growth.
‘Many other countries around the world already allow more freedom over this. Liberalising labelling guidelines could also help people make more informed choices about the drinks they buy.
‘We want to encourage the growth of no and low alcohol alternatives for those looking to moderate their alcohol intake.’
The public consultation closes at