I was going to avoid talking about calories in this column for two very good reasons.
Firstly, I’m not sure that the majority of the world actually understands calories, the effect that they have on the body, and how that effect differs depending on who you are, your age, your size and your level of physical activity.
Secondly, I believe that the huge amount of column inches given to the announcement from public health experts last week that alcohol should have a calorie content label is completely disproportionate.
But then I thought about whether this was an opportunity for smaller retailers.
According to the BBC, a single gin and tonic contains around 90 calories. There’s no need to worry about exactly what that means, but for reference it’s in the same calorie ballpark as an apple.
Earlier this month, Pernod Ricard revealed the latest update on ‘Project Gutenberg’, the company’s huge scheme aimed at revolutionising the way that cocktails are made at home. This follows on from the launch of Spirits Revolution, Diageo’s initiative also focusing on this potentially lucrative world. Originally launched in the on-trade earlier this year, the scheme is being pushed to the off-trade now.
Forget the old joke about the barman refusing to serve his customer a lager & lime because he “doesn’t do cocktails”, the term itself is wildly misleading. A cocktail doesn’t have to have umbrellas and Tom Cruise. It can be anything from vodka & coke or gin & tonic.
As customers move away from pubs because of the prices being charged (a fact that may upset me personally, but let’s put our business head on for a second), convenience retailers really need to take hold of the opportunities available to them.
The backing of big companies, a population entertaining at home more often, a world in which people are being told by the media that they should care a lot more about the calorie content of their evening entertainment.
So while I’m still unconvinced that calorie labeling on alcohol will make a huge difference, it does offer another opportunity for retailers to think about what they offer and how they promote it to their shoppers.
What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below.