New threat to the future of our industry – UPDATE on potential cancer warning labels
On 19 October, 2023, The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) issued a Media Release that stated that “Australian’s overwhelmingly support health warnings on alcohol products”. Subsequently, the Federal Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ged Kearny was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald as saying that she had “sought advice from her department on options for raising consumer awareness about the harms associated with alcohol. It is expected that the advice will canvas new warning labels’.
The IBA had been aware for some time that there was global movement advocating not just for health warning labels but ultimately for non-distinct packaging – however that there was government action came out of the blue.
The IBA has:
• Engaged with all national alcohol stakeholders
• Issued communication to the Federal Minister for Health (referenced in the article), Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Industry and the Prime Minister – which we are following up with conversations (on-going)
• Undertaken a number of interviews with media
We know that our industry takes its responsibility as an alcohol producer seriously. The ramifications of more labelling requirements and the IBA has put forward proposals that enable us to meet the objectives of giving consumers more information while ensuring small producers remain viable businesses.
It is in part the rise of craft beer – as a premium, higher priced, artisanal product, that has contributed to a change in behaviour towards choosing to consume lower amounts of a higher quality product. According to the latest Apparent Consumption of alcohol statistics produced by the Australian Government – beer consumption has continued to decrease. A professor in Economics at the University of Adelaide found recently that ‘Beer moderation has been a key contributor to Australia’s reduction in per capital alcohol consumption’.
As small beer producers we don’t want to get caught up in sweeping changes when we know we can continue to be part of solutions that address the issues raised by FARE.
As a member you will have received an email with a call to action and if you haven’t please email [email protected].