The Portman Group’s latest survey conducted by YouGov shows that the British public have strong views on how alcohol container choice shapes drinker perceptions and influences perceptions of how products are consumed.

The survey of 2,010 adults across Britain is largely consistent with previous surveys conducted in 2016 and 2014, and shows that the public believe:

  • Larger products with higher ABVs are designed to be decanted into a glass and shared and / or consumed over multiple sittings.
  • Smaller products with lower ABVs are designed to be consumed straight from the container by one person in one sitting.
  • However, beers and ciders with an ABV of 8% in a 500ml can are seen as designed to be consumed by one person in one sitting straight from the can.

The research was conducted on behalf of the Independent Complaints Panel to inform their understanding of the British public’s perception of alcohol packaging and immoderate drinking. This forms part of an evidence-based approach to considering complaints brought forward on the naming packaging, promotion and sponsorship of alcoholic drinks under the sixth edition of the Portman Group’s Codes of Practice. This Code and its associated guidance came into force in September 2019. The guidance to the Code advises that single-serve, non-resealable containers should not be more than 4 units, although mitigating factors for products up to six units such as premium status, pricing, and share messaging may be taken into account by the Panel.

Commenting, Portman Group Chief Executive John Timothy said:

“Our survey results should act as a useful reminder to producers that their choice of container and its size has a real impact on consumer perceptions and how a product is enjoyed. In order to avoid the impression of encouraging immoderate consumption certain products with a higher ABV may have to work harder to communicate to consumers that it is designed to be shared and/or consumed over multiple sittings.”

David Saer, Policy and Communications Manager

0207 290 1463 or 07730 525 701 or comms@localhost

Notes to editors:

  1. The Independent Complaints Panel is headed by Jenny Watson CBE a former Chair of the Electoral Commission and Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission. The Panel is drawn from a range of civic society who has worked in education, youth work, charity, criminal justice, health, marketing, hospitality and the alcohol industry. It is this mix of views and experiences which provides them with the authority to jointly provide a considered view on complaints based on the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks. The members of the panel can be found here.
  2. The Portman Group is the alcohol industry regulator. It has over 130 code signatories from producers, retailers and membership bodies. The Portman Group is funded by eight member companies: Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands UK; Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I; Carlsberg UK; Diageo GB; Heineken UK; Mast-Jäegermeister UK; Molson Coors Brewing Company UK; Pernod Ricard UK.
  3. The 2019 survey included 2010 adults aged 18+ across the UK and was conducted on 31 October – 1 November 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
  4. A full copy of the survey results including further visuals can be found here – http://localhost/portman-group/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Portman-Group-YouGov-Survey-on-Alcohol-Packaging-2019.pdf