Company: Tesco plc
Final Decision: 6 December 2012
Considered under the 4th Edition of the Code.
‘I [also] note that one element of the code refers to: ‘having any link to illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption’. It therefore seems strange that Tesco feels it appropriate to label some of their own brand alcohol products with the term ‘Everyday’ (Eg Tesco Everyday Value Vodka). Health guidelines state very clearly that people should have at least two alcohol free days each week. I am sure Tesco will claim that the term is used in the context of ‘everyday value’ not ‘everyday drinking’ but as you can see from the [attached] image, the design of the label is such that the EVERYDAY word is in bold and so stands out specifically. It is sending out the message, even if subliminally, that vodka is something one buys and consumes every day.’
Member of the public.
Under Code paragraph 3.2(f)
A drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way encourage illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption, such as drink-driving, binge-drinking or drunkenness.
The company’s submission
The company explained that ‘Everyday Value’ was their ‘entry level brand’ replacing their ‘Tesco Value’ range and spread across the entire shop of goods, offering customers value products.
Furthermore, since launching the range, the goods added to the portfolio have included fresh fruit and vegetables to soap powder and electricals. The ‘Everyday Value’ alcohol range is a small part of the overall alcohol range available from the retailer and includes a range of wines, spirits and beers. The company said it did not tell customers that any specific product should be consumed or used every day, including its fruit and vegetable products.
The company went on to say where alcohol made up part of the ‘Everyday Value’ range, the products were clearly labelled to help customers understand safe patterns of consumption, for example, the alcohol products clearly showed the ‘Know Your Limits’ labelling including the safe daily level of consumption for males, females and those who are pregnant. The company asserted that the range was called ‘Everyday Value’ not ‘Everyday Drinking’ and that they did not instruct the customer to do so.
The company made reference to the Government’s sensible drinking advice, and said that the advice was that people should not regularly drink more than the daily unit guidelines of 3-4 units of alcohol for men and 2-3 units of alcohol for women, and that this advice was based on the premise that safe daily alcohol consumption was possible.
The Panel’s assessment
The Panel considered the meaning of ‘everyday’ and noted that whilst dictionary definitions could imply every day usage, like daily, it could also mean ‘commonplace’ or ‘ordinary’. The Panel agreed that the spirit behind ‘Everyday Value’ lay in the latter definition and not as an instruction to consume the product ‘every day’.
The Panel then considered the term ‘everyday’ in relation to Government’s sensible drinking guidelines, (as above). The Panel noted that the guidelines referred to daily guidelines, and this was supplemented with advice that after an episode of heavy drinking, it was advisable to refrain from drinking for 48 hours.
Finally, the Panel considered the design of the packaging. It noted that the alcohol products had been designed in such a way that ‘Everyday’ and ‘Value’ were to be read together and these words were separated by a line below which the alcohol appeared as a standalone sub-heading. The Panel felt the company had succeeded in designing the packaging so that ‘Everyday’ was attributed to ‘Value’ and not the alcohol. Therefore, in the Panel’s view there was no instruction in the design of the packaging that the alcohol products should be consumed every day.
In light of the above factors the Panel did not find the range in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(f).
Action by company
No action required.