Low and no alcohol product innovation continues to grow

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With the present boom in the popularity of low- or no- alcohol products, we are seeing more and more brands join the market and existing brands diversify their offering into this space.  Given its popularity, there is no doubt there are huge opportunities for growth and revenue. However, there are areas that manufacturers, food business operators and marketers should be mindful of before launching their new products.

Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Take care to avoid similarity with protected products and consider potentially relevant protected geographical indications or protected designation of origin.
  2. The descriptor ‘alcohol free’ should only be used on drinks from which the alcohol has been extracted if it contains no more than 0.05% ABV.  Where a product has had the alcohol extracted but it remains above 0.05% ABV but at or below 0.5% ABV, the descriptor would be ‘de-alcoholised’. Marketers should, however, take care not to mislead consumers by implying that a product contains no alcohol at all if it contains any.
  3. Health claims for alcoholic products are prohibited and the types of nutrition claim that can be made for an alcoholic product are also limited. Nutrition claims are only acceptable if referring to low-alcohol levels, the reduction of the alcohol content, or the reduction of energy content.
  4. Nutrition claims which have the same meaning to the consumer as the relevant permitted claims, e.g. “light” (if referring to reduced alcohol content) or “reduced calories” may be acceptable, provided they comply with the relevant criteria for use.
  5. Any environmental/green claims (i.e. carbon free, eco-friendly, sustainable) need to be properly substantiated to ensure that they do not mislead consumers.
  6. Food businesses should ensure that no/low alcohol products are properly labelled with mandatory food information, unlike alcoholic drinks with more than 1.2% by volume of alcohol, an ingredients list may be required. Both product lines will however need to bring allergens to the attention of the consumer.