The Portman Group (Portman), the alcohol social responsibility body and marketing regulator in the UK, has introduced the first industrywide Alcohol Alternatives Guidance. 

The guidance is aimed at ensuring the responsible marketing and packaging of low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages.  

It is freely available and comes at a time when the popularity of alcohol alternatives is on the rise, particularly among younger consumers. 

Defined as drinks with an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 0.5% or below, alcohol alternatives may share branding with alcoholic drinks or have similar packaging.  

The new guidance stipulates that marketing should clearly indicate when an alcohol alternative is being consumed, especially in scenarios involving driving, sports, or other activities where drinking alcohol would be potentially dangerous.

It also advises against marketing that depicts alcohol alternatives being consumed during pregnancy, emphasising that it is up to individuals to make educated choices about drinking products with 0.0% ABV.

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Additional suggestions from the guidance include avoiding any association of alcohol alternatives with social or sexual success, not using images of individuals who appear to be under the age of 25, and ensuring that the product does not cause serious or widespread offence.  

The launch comes after a new YouGov survey commissioned by Portman revealed that more than one-third (35%) of alcohol consumers now occasionally or regularly opt for alcohol alternatives.  

This figure increases to nearly half (44%) among 18 to 24-year-olds.  

Portman CEO Matt Lambert said: “We very much welcome the endorsement provided by Department for Health and Social Care for the first industrywide and freely available alcohol alternatives guidance for packaging and marketing.  

“As evidenced by our research, alcohol alternatives have seen a huge increase in popularity in recent years, and the Portman Group has responded by creating new marketing principles to help producers market these products responsibly.”