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Home | News | Marketing | Guinness improves labelling

Guinness improves labelling

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Loomes: nutritional info covers 40% of Irish beer market

Better info in Ireland – and lessons learnt to date

Diageo’s initiative to convey complete alcohol content and nutritional information on its brands is taking another step forward. This month sees the inclusion of such information on 500 ml cans of Guinness sold in Ireland.

This includes information about calories, carbohydrates, protein and sugar as well as grams of alcohol per serve. (For a 500ml can of Guinness, alcohol totals 17 grams.) The already familiar warnings concerning drink driving and consuming alcohol during pregnancy remain in place.

Diageo Ireland country director Oliver Loomes said, “While this is a global standard and will eventually feature across all brands in all markets the decision to expand to Guinness 500ml cans means that almost 40% of the Irish beer market will be covered by the new labelling standard, making Ireland a market leader in this regard.”

The update of branding on Guinness cans was preceded by a roll out last year of such information on ale brand Smithwicks. Diageo Ireland hopes the labelling standards will be rolled out across its entire portfolio of drinks over the next 12 months.

The improvements to Guinness’ packaging are the latest fruits of a commitment made by Diageo in March 2015 to provide alcohol content and nutritional information per typical serve for all its alcoholic products.

At the time chief executive Ivan Menezes stated, “Currently, there is no obligation to provide such information in markets worldwide, but we know that consumers are increasingly discerning about what’s in their glass. We want to provide alcohol and nutritional information that consumers can quickly understand, instead of expecting them to do the maths.”

This information was pledged to appear on either brand packaging, depending on local regulatory approval, or as part of Diageo’s responsible drinking website

Lessons learnt so far

Diageo’s knowledge of what information should be included and how it should be displayed on packaging is based on consumer research. The findings, based on interaction with 1,500 consumers in markets around the world including Great Britain, Spain, Mexico and the United States, are encapsulated in its Diageo Consumer Information Standards, which were made public last year.

There were some interesting findings. Those surveyed said that when too much information (especially small text) is placed on the label they tend to ignore it all, and less information, clearly presented was a consistent request across all markets.

The research also found that, of all the information that could be included, their preference was for alcohol information (standard drink size, ABV, how many units). In terms of nutritional information what topped their interests were calories per serve, sugar content and allergens. And then there was an interest in ‘brand facts', such as how a product is made and quality assurances.

Diageo has also offered some insight into what works to convey such information in terms of packaging design. Features that help include:

* Consistent layout – knowing where to look for information on every pack
* Grouping similar information together, such as responsible drinking symbols
* Icons have proven to be significantly faster to understand than words
* And simple charts with larger text are preferred

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