Low strength alcohol could increase consumption

Labeling alcoholic drinks - such as wines and beers - as lower in strength could encourage people to drink more, finds a study. Alcohol is the fifth leading cause of disease and premature death globally. Reducing consumption of alcohol is a public health priority in many countries. In this study, two-hundred and sixty-four weekly wine and beer drinkers - sampled from a representative panel of the general population of England - were randomised to one of three groups to taste test drinks in a laboratory designed to mimic a bar environment. The drinks varied only in the label displayed. The results showed the total amount of drink consumed increased as the label on the drink denoted successively lower alcohol strength. The mean consumption of drinks labelled 'Super Low' was 214ml, compared with 177ml for regular (unlabelled) drinks. Individual differences in drinking patterns and socio-demographic indicators did not affect these results.