Responsible attitude leads to 210 pleas for Portman's help

09 February, 2007

Complaints down because industry has better awareness of watchdog's code

More drinks companies asked The Portman Group for help last year than at any other time in its 10-year history.

The group, which is funded by major suppliers and advises on responsible retailing, received 210 enquiries from companies

and eight complaints about products.

Chief executive David Poley said: " The low level of complaints is down to better awareness of the code

in the industry and the responsible attitude of the overwhelming majority of drinks producers".

Only two drinks products fell foul of The Portman Group's code of practice in 2006, with complaints about Asda's ­Bubbly & Bear gift set and Inver House Distillers' spider-themed Beastie RTDs upheld.

"Six of the eight complaints last year related to the use of gift packs containing alcohol ," said Poley. "We took immediate action to make producers, wholesalers and retailers aware of the risks and provided advice on responsible marketing. Two products found to be in breach of the

code were removed from sale or re branded to comply with the


Poley added: "We remain vigilant for irresponsible marketing activities ­targeting under-18s, encouraging binge drinking or products associated with increased popularity or sexual success.

"Consumers can help us maintain standards by identifying any drinks falling short of the standards. We guarantee

members of the public complaining about drinks promotions will remain anonymous."

The Portman Group

publishes its fourth

code of

practice this year

and Poley said: "We hope we will achieve the right balance between, on the one hand, providing adequate public protection against harmful marketing and, on the other, allowing the industry reasonable marketing freedom."

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