The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

What’s in your beer?

Beer pouring into glass on a white background

New Zealand’s two leading beer producers have announced they will add nutrition information panels to the back of beer bottles, cans and packaging, helping consumers to be more informed about what they are drinking.

The Brewers Association – in partnership with two of its members, Lion and DB – has committed to rolling out the voluntary initiative throughout the year. More than 450 million beer bottles and cans will carry information on sugar, calories, dietary fibre, protein and carbohydrate content. All products will continue to carry standard drinks labelling.

The initiative is stage one of a long-term category programme, called ‘Beer the Beautiful Truth’, designed to bust myths and communicate nutritional facts about beer.

Colmar Brunton research commissioned by the Brewers Association found that many Kiwis are not aware that beer is low in sugar. The truth is that most beer is 99% sugar-free.

Kevin Sinnott, External Relations Director for the Brewers Association New Zealand, says that research shows that Kiwis have some pretty big gaps in their knowledge about beer. “Malted barley is one of the key ingredients in beer, and in the brewing process the starch from malted barley is converted into sugar,” says Sinnott. “This sugar, or sugar from any other ingredient such as wheat, other grains, or natural cane sugar, is then converted into alcohol by the yeast during the fermentation process. As a result, the finished beer is very low in sugar.”

“Consumers are keen for this information to be made available. Almost 75% of our survey respondents told us that nutritional content should be on alcohol products’ packaging. Having nutrition labels on food is especially important to women, with 83% in favour of labelling,” he says.

“We know that sugars and preservatives are particularly important to consumers and shoppers, so we’ve highlighted these facts”, says Sinnott.

Labelling transparency was a step towards educating New Zealanders about beer, and supporting them to make more informed choices, says Sinnott.

As part of the campaign, all the nutritional information included on participating beers will also be available on the website

Kevin Sinnott explains that while DB and Lion products will start hitting the shelves soon, the Brewers Association would welcome other New Zealand breweries joining the category campaign.

“Beer gets a bad rap at times, often due to misconceptions around what’s in it. With nutrition information panels, everything is out in the open. And we think people might be pleasantly surprised by the beautiful truth about beer.”