By Andrew Starke
Health experts say low-carb beer advertising misleads consumers and have criticised new marketing strategies that position these as healthy products.
The Alcohol Policy Coalition has called on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to address the need for factual alcohol labelling in response to a rise in what is called ‘misleading health claims’ made by low-carb beer producers.
“New marketing strategies, such as Coopers selling its beer as a ‘body nutrient’, are positioning beer as a healthy product and this is simply false advertising,” said Cancer Prevention Centre, Cancer Council of Victoria, director, Craig Sinclair.
“Labelling has been on the COAG agenda since March 2008 and, with a rise in misleading health claims on alcohol products, it needs to be addressed now more than ever.”
Sinclair said recent research showed that consumers believe low carb beer contributes to weight loss and is a healthier option than regular beer.
He contends that actual information about alcohol should be spelled out on the product packaging, including a complete list of ingredients and health information.
“Current labelling standards that allow nutrition claims to be placed on alcohol products, such as ‘low carbohydrate’, do not account for the inherent harms associated with alcohol,” said Sinclair. “This misleads consumers because it allows nutrition claims to be associated with products that are effectively empty of nutrients and overall, unhealthy.”
TheShout contacted Coopers for a response and the brewer is presently considering its position.