50p-per-unit won't work, says survey

17 February, 2010

Almost two thirds, or 63%, of UK consumers say a proposed minimum pricing of 50p-per-unit would have no effect on the amount of alcohol they buy, according to new findings.

The survey of 2,193 adults by market research agency GFK NOP revealed that any price increases aimed at reducing alcohol consumption would need to be considerable to have a significant impact.

It would take a price increase of 50% to encourage 61% to reduce their alcohol consumption “a lot”, according to the findings.

A 20% price increase would lead 52% to reduce their consumption by “a lot” or “a little”, while a 30% increase would move 71% to do so.

Director Ivan Browne said: “This research strongly suggests that any measures to introduce a minimum price on alcohol would have to be considerable to make any significant impact.

“The recession has made little difference to the UK consumer’s alcohol intake so far, and the evidence here suggests that nothing short of price increases of 40% to 50% would be needed to make a real difference for the majority.”

Special promotions on alcohol, such as as buy one get one free and three-for-£10, encourage 29% of consumers to buy more than they intended, according to the survey.

It also revealed mixed opinions on the ban on alcohol sponsorship of sports events and festivals proposed by the British Medical Association.

Just over a third (35%) support a total ban, 37% support new restrictions but not a ban, and 28% suggest there should be no change in the current regulations.

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