Drinkaware backs calorie message

19 March, 2010

Consumers find calorie content “far more motivating” than units in understanding alcohol content, the new communications boss at alcohol education body Drinkaware has claimed.

Paul Hegarty said the charity would focus on calories in future responsible drinking campaigns in an effort to get people to reassess how much they are drinking. But he said units still had a key role to play in the alcohol education process.

The Conservative party has said it will replace alcohol unit labelling with a system based around cl content if it wins the next election, because it thinks units are misunderstood.

“Calories are something we are very much looking at,” said Hegarty. “The calorie message is far more compelling.”?Hegarty joined Drinkaware at the beginning of the year from Molson Coors, which has done marketing around calorie content, including the 99-calorie Carling bottle which went on sale last year.

Providing information on calories is “a message that gets there more effectively” than telling consumers about how many units they should be drinking, Hegarty added.

“The calories message helps make units real because there might be people who are drinking who are not overweight,” he told OLN.

“It can be a powerful message, especially with women.”?Earlier, speaking at the Association of Convenience Stores’ Responsible Retailing Forum, Hegarty said it was vital Drinkaware avoided patronising consumers.

“If we are going to change attitudes we have to communicate as a friend rather than a nanny,” he said.

“We are not the alcohol Taliban, we are not anti-drink. We want people to go out and enjoy a drink but to do it in a responsible fashion.”?Jessica McQueen, head of marketing for alcohol misuse at he Department of Health, said that using shock tactics or “scary campaigns and finger-wagging” would fail to change consumers’ drinking habits.

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