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Delhi Wine Club
UK Supermarkets Cause Alcohol Concern

Posted: Tuesday, 15 March 2011 14:42

UK Supermarkets Cause Alcohol Concern

UK supermarkets storing beer and wine very close to the food items according to an NGO called Alcohol Concern, could take a lesson from the otherwise wine-backward cities like Delhi where the strict laws specify the liquor area to be separated from the rest of the store and even limit the size in some cities.

In the tug of war between industry and the NGO, industry groups say encouraging people to drink with food is responsible, as most people enjoy their alcohol that way whereas Alcohol Concern wants supermarkets in England and Wales to keep beer and wine in a separate section.

A one- day survey carried out around Christmas time in 2010, the group discovered ASDA placing bottles of wine at the fish, meat and deli counters and cans of cider next to the hot chicken counter. Morrisons had beer next to fruits and vegetables, and champagne next to the milk. Sainsbury's had wine next to soft drinks, bottles of spirits next to fruit and boxes of beer next to cheese. Tesco had bottles of spirits next to bread and tea, and cans of cider were found next to potato chips.

The research involved a single visit to a branch of the supermarkets in Cardiff on a single day last December. The British Retail Consortium said it was a very small-scale survey, which would be skewed by the fact it was carried out close to Christmas. The CEO of Alcohol Concern, Don Shenker, counters, ‘It's now common practice to sell wine next to ready-meals, pushing the idea that a relaxing meal should be accompanied by an alcoholic drink.’ (Presumably he refers to wine-editor)

Doctor leaders who support limited consumption of wine with food agree with the calls for supermarkets to change the way they display alcohol. Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics for the British Medical Association reportedly said: "We have to start de-normalizing alcohol - it is not like other types of food and drink. Alcohol in moderation can be good for you but as many as 30% of people in the UK are drinking far too much and putting their health at risk."

Nathanson said: "Having separate alcohol areas in supermarkets is only one aspect of a comprehensive strategy that the government needs to introduce to tackle alcohol misuse."

The food industry responds by saying that the supermarkets are the most responsible sellers of alcohol. There's no evidence to link the way alcohol is sold currently to irresponsible drinking. Limiting supermarket displays would create inconvenience for the vast majority of customers who enjoy alcohol sensibly, they assert.

While delWine recognizes the professionalism and perfection achieved by the supermarkets matched only by their clout, the government needs to draw the dividing line. No one denies that 25-30% Brits have crossed the line towards alcoholism and every citizen would want to support the measures to contain the disease. Moreover, supermarkets are stores where people of all ages, sex and religious beliefs enter with families and children for their daily needs of necessity.

A separate area must be marked for wine, beer and other alcohol. Whatever promotions need to be carried out should be in this section so the parental indulgence or any other legal controls may be carried out properly. To that extent the different states in India have generally done a very good job in enforcing the law and keep wine sales restricted to presumably the right quarters. Perhaps it could be an example for the former rulers to emulate!?



Mayukh Dewan Says:

britain is facing a grim alcohol consumption future. binge drinking is a serious problem in the young circles there and this is prompting the governament to take steps. furthermore... alcohol companies have also vowed to reduce the alcohol percentage of their beers and eventually spirits. already heineken has reduces its alcohol percentage by 1 percent in GB and strongbow cider is next.

Posted @ March 17, 2011 14:41


Subhash Arora Says:

Six key UK health associations including the British Medical Association and Alcohol concern have rejected the government’s new ‘responsibility deal’ on alcohol ahead of its publication today, according to Decanter. For reasons advanced, please visit
Decanter. Subhash Arora

Posted @ March 15, 2011 15:15


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