Germany: Brewers ask for nutritional labelling on beer

As part of a joint initiative to increase the transparency of beer labeling, the German Brewers' Association (DBB) and the Association of Private Breweries in Germany recommend to their member breweries to label all beers and mixed beer beverages on a voluntary basis with their calorific value. The new labelling "should be gradually implemented by the breweries from 2019," the two organizations said on Friday. They hope that other industries, such as vintners and distillers, will follow suit.

So far, according to the EU food regulation, the calorific value and the nutritional information has to be labeled only on non-alcoholic beers and non-alcoholic mixed drinks with less than 1.2 percent alcohol. Beverages with higher alcohol content are exempted from this obligation. However, the EU Commission has already expressed its intention to treat alcoholic drinks like other beverages. Therefore, the voluntary brewer’s initiative anticipates stricter EU regulations.

"In contrast to other alcoholic beverages, every German beer already has its ingredients on the label. In the future, we also want to label the calorific value and thus make a contribution to better consumer information and more transparency, "said the Presidents of the DBB and the Private Brewers Germany, Dr. Ing. Jörg Lehmann and Detlef Projahn. "We are proud of our beer diversity, we have nothing to hide and want to meet the wishes of consumers - in the hope that other industries will follow our example." At European and national level, the two organizations are in contact with the associations of the wine and the spirits industry, in order to achieve in the future an ingredient and calorific value labeling of all alcoholic beverages.

The new labelling could help to correct the public perception of beer and its supposed characteristics as a fattening food. According to a poll, 42 percent of consumers rate the calorific content of a lager beer higher than it really is. It’s 42 kcalories per 100 milliliters is much lower than the comparable value of wine (74-83 kcal per 100 ml), milk (47 kcal per 100 ml) and most kinds of fruit juice (38-60 kcal per 100 ml) and is also comparable to most sodas (38-45 kcal per 100 ml).

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