Labels continue to be a popular topic of discussion in the food and beverage industry. Simply put, consumers more than ever want to know what goes into the products they purchase. The beverage alcohol industry has successfully avoided scrutiny for some time, in part because of consumers’ willful ignorance when it comes to knowing how many calories are in their favorite drinks.
But this might not be the case for much longer. This week, trade association the Beer Institute says it is popping the top on transparency and urging its members to display specific consumer information on products, packaging or websites.
Beer manufacturers are not regulated by FDA. Because of this, they are not required to list the ingredients used in their products.
The association announced the Brewers’ Voluntary Disclosure Initiative, a new approach by which beer companies will voluntarily list calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat and alcohol by volume on their beer products by including a serving facts statement. In addition, they will provide freshness dating and disclose ingredients via a list, a reference to a website with the information or a QR code on the label or secondary packaging. Beer Institute members, including Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, Heineken USA, Constellation Brands Beer Division, North American Breweries and Craft Brew Alliance, have all agreed to follow these standards.
“The Beer Institute, and its member companies, believes this is a step in the right direction to demonstrate a commitment to quality and transparency through these voluntary measures,” says Jim McGreevy, Beer Institute president and CEO. “Beer is the most popular alcohol beverage in the United States, and I look forward to brewers and importers including a serving facts statement along with disclosing all ingredients in their products. Providing meaningful information will ultimately empower the consumer when making decisions regarding the beer beverage of their choice.”
The inclusion of ingredients and caloric information isn’t completely foreign to the beer industry. Earlier this year, AB InBev UK began adding full nutritional information to its beers and expects to have 80 percent of its European portfolio in compliance by the end of 2017. Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors have also listed ingredients and nutritional content for many of their flagship brands since 2014.