A2. Awareness of alcohol units in the On-trade

“We will provide simple and consistent information in the on-trade (e.g. pubs and clubs), to raise awareness of the unit content of alcoholic drinks, and we will also explore together with health bodies how messages around drinking guidelines and the associated health harms might be communicated.”

The following provides background and supporting information to help organisations understand what this pledge sets out to achieve and how, by becoming a Responsibility Deal partner, you can help deliver this pledge.

What this pledge sets out to achieve, and why it is important

This pledge will help raise people’s awareness and understanding of units.

The pledge commits on-trade retailers to provide unit information to customers in on-trade premises, such as pubs, clubs and restaurants.

The majority of alcohol in on-trade premises is served pre-poured by bar staff, which means customers often do not have access to information that may be present on the labels of bottles or cans.

Improving awareness of alcohol units in drinks can help people make informed choices about when and how much they drink. It enables people to better measure their alcohol consumption and understand whether this is in line with lower-risk guidelines.

In 2009, 90 per cent of respondents to an annual ONS survey said that they had heard of alcohol units, but only 63 per cent correctly identified that one unit was equivalent to half a pint of beer and only 27 per cent correctly said that an average 125ml glass of wine contained more than one unit.  Additionally, many people are unaware of the full extent of the health harms associated with alcohol misuse.

If advice on alcohol is going to be meaningful, people must be able to put it into the context of their own drinking habits.  This means being able to more easily measure their intake and compare that against medical advice.

Benefits to public health

The NHS guidelines for lower-risk drinking is that men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units per day and women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units per day.

Providing unit information is unlikely to improve public health on its own, but it has an important role in supporting other interventions, such as personal advice provided by health professionals.

There is also the wider social context to consider.  Alcohol is now responsible for an estimated 50 per cent of violent crime and more than a third takes place in and around pubs and clubs.  Around 23,000 alcohol-related public disorder incidents occur in the UK every week.

How you can deliver this pledge

The British Beer and Pub Association is working in partnership with the Drinkaware Trust, using the most up to date consumer research, to develop materials that can be used by on-trade premises to raise customer awareness about units.

Working with health bodies, industry will also explore whether and how further information can be included, such as calories, health harms, and drinking guidelines. Responsibility Deal partners will have the opportunity to feed into this process.

Examples of the materials are available.

These hi-res images can be downloaded free of charge to print materials. Members are also invited to make the materials available on their own company websites.

A summary image (“lock up”) of the key unit awareness messages can be found on the website. This can be used on existing member materials and point-of-sale, including menus, tent-cards, and of course websites.  It is recognised that some members will need flexibility in terms of the design of the materials, but it is important that the messaging itself remains consistent with that agreed with Drinkaware and supported by the Department of Health to avoid confusion for consumers and to ensure a level playing field for evaluation of the overall campaign.

For further information about the campaign and materials please contact Jim Cathcart on 0207 627 9144 or email him at jcathcart@beerandpub.com, or contact Martin Rawlings on 0207 627 9142 or email him at mrawlings@beerandpub.com

Your pledge delivery plan

Shortly after signing up, partners will be asked to provide pledge delivery plans, laying out how they intend to meet each of the pledges they have signed up to.  They will have up to 500 words to describe their plans for each pledge they are signed up to.  All delivery plans will be published on this website.

Reporting progress on your pledge

Partners will be asked to report on their progress by the end of April each year.  For some pledges, partners will be asked to report using pre-defined quantitative measures, while for others they will be asked for a narrative update.  Further information on the reporting arrangements for each pledge is available.  All annual updates will be published on this website.

We are currently developing a web-based system that will allow partners to complete their delivery plans and annual updates online from 2013.

Partners signed up to this pledge.

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