Drinks producers told to change packaging or risk ban

28 March, 2008

Producers of 32 drinks brands have been told to change their packaging or have products banned, after an independent audit by industry watchdog, the Portman Group.

Producers of 32 drinks brands have been told to make changes to their packaging or face having them banned from sale after an independent audit revealed they may be breaking the Portman Group’s code of practice.

Management consultancy PIPC were asked in February to collect a random sample of 485 alcoholic drinks on sale in stores around the country and test their packaging against the code of practice on the naming, packaging and promotion of alcoholic drinks.

Drinks producers will now have four months to make changes to their packaging to address PIPC’s concerns. If they don’t, the products will be put before the Portman’s independent complaints panel who could decide to ban them from sale.

Portman chief executive David Poley said he was pleased that 90 per cent of packaging didn’t breach the code.

“This independent audit has confirmed that most alcohol packaging is manifestly compliant with the code. It has, though, raised concerns about a number of drinks, including some well-known brands. Our code advisory service will give confidential advice to these drinks’ producers who may alter their packaging or opt for an independent complaints panel decision,” he said.

Under the code drinks producers must not market alcoholic drinks to under-18s or encourage rapid or down-in-one drinking. The alcohol content of a drink must be made clear on the label but the its alcoholic strength should not be dominant. It also advises against any association with illegal drugs, bravado, aggression or anti-social behaviour and any suggestion that the drink will lead to sexual success or increased popularity is also banned.

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