Complaints about the packaging of three different alcoholic drink brands have not been upheld by The Portman Group’s Independent Complaints Panel.

A complaint was made about K Cider, with the complainant (Portsmouth City Council) stating that the packaging promoted immoderate drinking and urged the consumer to drink rapidly or ‘down’ the product in one. The Council believed that the combination of the strength of the product plus the fact it was served in a non-resealable can, encouraged consumers to drink immoderately.

Portsmouth City Council filed a similar complaint for Oranjeboom, while a third identical complaint was made by Medway Council about the packaging of Crest Super.

The Panel said they could not infer from the evidence presented that 4.2 units for K Cider and 5 units for Crest Super of alcohol on one occasion were immoderate levels of drinking, and therefore they concluded there was insufficient evidence to find a breach of Code.

For Oranjeboom, the Panel discussed the prominence of the 8.5% level of alcohol, and the words ‘imported’ and ‘extra strong’. They concluded that as the product was available in different strengths it was useful for the consumer to know that the product was 8.5% abv, while the words ‘imported’ and ‘extra strong’ were factual and not unduly emphasised. Again it found this product not to be in breach of the Code.

Secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel, Kay Perry, said: “Alcohol producers must be mindful not to encourage immoderate or irresponsible drinking when designing the packaging of their products. If they are in any doubt, the Portman Group Advisory Service is free and confidential, and responds to all enquiries within two working days.”