Alcopops under further scrutiny

The Government is looking at restricting the merchandising and packaging of so-called alcopops in response to claims of distributors targeting under-age drinkers.

The Department of Trade and Industry is studying the Portman Group’s recommendations on tightening its code of conduct for the alcopop sector.

The Portman Group, a voluntary body which promotes sensible drinking, is tightening its code of conduct on the naming, packaging and merchandising of alcoholic soft drinks. Any changes could lead to packaging design alterations.

A consultation document from the Portman Group proposes banning any connotations with illicit drugs on packaging, point-of-sale material or in product names.

The document also recommends looking at barring a product’s name appearing “in a thickened or otherwise textured fashion, in such a way as to suggest a drink associated predominantly with children’s consumption” and the use of the word “alcoholic” alongside a product name which is a soft drink name or a flavour associated with a soft drink.

The Government must decide whether these recommendations go far enough to curb under-age drinking.

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