Do you know what’s in a Jerusalem Artichoke spirit?

Have you ever heard about Jerusalem Artichoke spirit? Do you know what goes into a caraway-flavoured spirit? Or a Beerenburg? Since 12 March, you can find all the answers on www.responsibledrinking.eu. Here, we have made detailed information for all of the EU’s 47 spirit drinks categories available.

For each of them, calorie information is provided per 100 ml and per serving size, as is the list of ingredients, the full nutrition declaration, and further important information on the production process. In sum, we are talking about an unprecedented level of transparency, with the information provided going well beyond the levels of what comparable legislation would mandate...

So is this a useful tool? The many positive comments that have reached us since the launch of the site make us believe it is, as do the growing numbers of users that are rallying to access the information (numbers have jumped sharply since the launch).

Is this all we plan to offer in terms of consumer information? Certainly not! This is, quite literally, work in progress…and we have been consistently clear about this in our communications: this is ‘a’ (we believe, useful) tool on the pathway towards more consumer information by 2022, yet not ‘the’ ultimate outcome marking the end of our self-regulatory commitment. Some of the critical reactions about the new site seemed to ignore the broader context as part of which this initiative is unfolding (as well as some of the sector-specific legal aspects that still need resolving…).

So what are the next steps? First, the availability of this information will be scaled up in different languages in the coming months, as our member associations and companies will gradually integrate it into their respective websites. Second, the standard that we are developing together with GS1 will bolster online information further, by providing a common language for all relevant actors on nutrition and ingredient information. This information will then be made available via open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to allow for the development of new and innovative product-specific digital information tools such as dedicated mobile apps. Third, on the question of voluntary provision of energy information on labels, we are working closely with the European Commission to reach a common understanding on the best way forward and hope to achieve this very soon.

Finally, love it or loath it, the new site actually works pretty nicely in practice. During my last visit to the supermarket, I found it handy being able to access a central website on my mobile phone where I could easily find detailed information on the product on offer. Unfortunately, I could not find any Jerusalem Artichoke spirits on the shelves. However, on the website, I could find the answer to the initial question of this article – and it is: 63kcal per 30ml serve. See you all on www.responsibledrinking.eu!

Ulrich Adam*

Director General

 

*In his capacity as permanent representative of SPRL ADLOR Consulting