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22 July 2021

Brewers sign new EU Code of Conduct on sustainable food systems

Europe | The Brewers of Europe, an industry body, has added its name to a new EU-wide pledge to support the shift towards sustainable food systems. By signing up, Europe’s brewers pledged to pursue and build upon their six-year long commitment to label ingredients and energy on beers across Europe.

By the end 2022, all beer bottles and cans will list ingredients and energy per 100 ml, just as all other non-alcoholic beverages legally have to do.

While EU law currently exempts alcoholic beverages over 1.2 percent ABV from this legal obligation, The Brewers of Europe is delighted to add its weight to the European Commission’s campaign for all consumers to have access to this information.

With implementation rates for ingredients and energy labelling already in excess of 80 percent, Europe’s brewers are well on their way to hitting their targets as part of the ‘Proud to be Clear’ campaign.

Consumers unsure about beer’s calorie count

The Brewers of Europe Secretary General, Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, commented: “Brewers want people to know exactly what goes into the delicious beers that they brew. When we provide people with clear information about our beers, we empower them to make the right choices. This is about responsible business and consumer choice.”

In a survey on behalf of the German Brewers’ Association, around 52 percent of Germans said they would appreciate if the calorie information were to be found on the labels of all alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, or whiskey.

Interestingly, the survey also showed that many consumers overestimate beer’s calorie content. A total of 42 percent of respondents thought the calorie count of a Pilsner beer higher than it actually is. It is around 40 kcal per 100 ml. 31 percent did not know the answer at all. Only one in five consumers knew the correct figure.

This is surprising because, in Germany, all beers have long provided a list of ingredients, and more than 90 percent of beer labels state the calorific value. Are we allowed to conclude that German consumers do not really care about liquid calories?