Healthy booze marketing misleading: study

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Alcoholic drinks that claim to be healthier, more natural, “cleaner” and free of carbohydrates and guilt might be misleading consumers, the Cancer Council has warned.

A study released on Sunday analysed the nutrient profile of 144 new alcohol products released between 2019 and 2020 which were promoted as better for you.

The alcohol, energy, carbohydrate and sugar content of each product was recorded and assessed against existing classifications for alcohol strength and sugar and carbohydrate content.

The research found most of the products contained full strength alcohol and more than a third didn’t provide any nutritional information.

The chair of the Cancer Council Alcohol Working Group, Julia Stafford, said promoting alcohol as “healthy” or “better for you” was a misleading marketing tactic.

“We are seeing an emerging and very concerning trend of alcohol companies trying to create a health halo around products that are fundamentally unhealthy, by marketing them as lower in calories, sugar or carbohydrates, using ‘natural’ ingredients or avoiding the use of artificial additives or flavours,” Ms Stafford said.

“Alcoholic products promoted as better for you rely on an illusion of healthiness, without addressing the ingredient of most concern to health, the alcohol content.”

She said overstating minor differences in sugar and kilojoule content was a distraction from the health risks of alcohol, which is a cause of seven types of cancer.

AAP has approached industry bodies Alcohol Beverages Australia and Retail Drinks Australia for comment.

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