EUROPE. The European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC) has welcomed a move by the region’s alcohol industry to voluntarily provide consumers with ingredient and nutrition information on alcohol products.

The self-regulatory proposal was put forward by spirits and wine industry organisations today (12 March). It echoes ETRC’s recent efforts to ensure the travel retail industry complies with European Commission (EC) regulation on the provision of food information to consumers (FIC Regulation).

The proposal highlights the use of digital technology to deliver information to consumers and references ETRC’s work.

ETRC has been working with retailers and suppliers across categories to identify a digital solution that would allow travel retail consumers to access information off-label.

It has already commissioned a pilot project for a digital platform providing regulatory information to travel retail consumers. The platform, expected to launch in April, will initially cover three categories – food & confectionery; perfumes & cosmetics; and alcohol.

ETRC President Sarah Branquinho says an off-label product information solution will be pivotal to the future of travel retail

Travellers will be able to access product information directly from a product barcode by scanning it with a smartphone or in-store scanner facilities. Information will also be available online. The platform will offer product information in multiple languages at any time “and in a format that is useful and relevant to consumers in a travel environment”, ETRC stated.

“We welcome the commitment of the alcohol industry to respond positively to the challenge presented by the European Commission and to use the opportunity to explore innovative off-label solutions to better inform consumers in the digital age,” said ETRC President Sarah Branquinho.

“The ETRC initiative to develop an off-label solution undertaken with the support of our members will be pivotal in delivering the way forward for our channel. We look forward to presenting the results of the project to European regulators and the subsequent roll out of a solution that will both meet the demands of our consumers while preserving the interests of our business.”

The self-regulatory proposal put forward by spiritsEUROPE and CEEV (Comité Européen des Entreprises Vin) can be found on their respective websites.

The EU’s FIC Regulation came into force in December 2016. In March last year, EC granted the alcohol industry a year to present a self-regulatory proposal to provide consumers with information on ingredients and nutrition.

EC will now review the proposal put forward today. If the self-regulatory approach proposed by the industry is deemed unsatisfactory, an impact assessment will be launched in 2018 to review further options, including possible legislation at EU level.