Retailers reject criticism of alcohol promotions

The British Retail Consortium has rejected claims from a coalition of health bodies that cut-price alcohol promotions could contribute to a health “crisis”.

The Alcohol Health Alliance has called for a ban on price-based TV ads in its submission to a consultation on changes to The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) advertising rules.

The health coalition, which includes Alcohol Concern and the Royal College of Physicians, says the rules encourage supermarkets to compete on cut-price alcohol promotions, which contributes to increased consumption and “an escalating public health crisis”.

Responding to the Alliance’s call, Sandra Gidley, Liberal Democrat MP and member of the Health Select Committee currently investigating alcohol misuse, told Marketing Week that restrictions on alcohol promotions “do not go far enough”.

However, BRC food director Andrew Opie says alcohol promotions are not about encouraging excessive consumption. “Irresponsible drinking is not a result of prices or promotions. Its causes are cultural,” he says.

Last month, Tesco also defended the role of supermarket promotions at the Health Select Committee hearing on the role of marketing in the consumption of alcohol. Tesco said research showed that customers buying alcohol do so to stock up, not to consume more.

CAP and BCAP’s new rules governing advertising are expected in the autumn.

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