Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s have announced plans to slash the price of selected alcoholic drinks, angering ‘responsible drinking’ campaigners.
The supermarket came under fire yesterday after it revealed reductions on so-called ‘lighter’ wines, bottled beers and mixer cans of spirit.
Sainsbury’s said its aim was to persuade people to switch to lower alcohol products or choose small measures.
However campaigners discarded the move, stating it was a cynical marketing stunt. Arguing that the low prices encourage higher consumption.
Health minister Paul Burstow has supported the promotion, which is currently running until January 24.
The alcohol industry set up a joint initiative between major brands: Sainsbury’s, Diageo, Heineken and Drinkaware in order to promote responsible drinking.
Sainbury’s said it was trying to encourage drinkers to shift away from the typical choice of wine, which is normally 12-14 per cent alcohol.
A target has been set for 2020 to double the sales of lighter wines –with an alcohol content of 10.5 per cent or less. The price of those wines will be cut be 25 per cent in this deal.
Diaego’s alcopop-style cans of mixer drinks will also cut their prices by 25 per cent – drinks include Smirnoff and diet cola and Morgan’s spiced rum and cola.
Eric Appleby, chief executive of Alcohol Concern said the campaign “rather cynically uses the trappings of responsibility as a promotional hook in what is really just product marketing”.
“The campaign is essentially a seasonal one, using the traditional January respite after the festive season to promote lines that are marginally lower in alcohol content”.
The British Medical Association said cheap offers on low alcohol drinks were not enough. Prime Minster David Cameron has supported the call for minimum prices on units of alcohol. He is said to want to see the prices set at 40-50p per unit.
A spokesman for BMA said: “Alcohol misuse leads to serious ill-health, premature death and is linked to violence and anti-social behaviour. It also costs the NHS billions of pounds every year”.
Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh