Welsh shoppers back calls for separate alcohol areas in supermarkets

01 / 03 / 2011

Research published today by Alcohol Concern Cymru reveals the true extent of alcohol displays in supermarkets in Wales.

Bottles of wineA snapshot survey of Sainsbury's, Tesco, Morrisons and Asda supermarkets highlights how alcohol is no longer confined to a specific drinks aisle, but is found throughout stores, in doorways, on end-of-aisle displays, by checkouts, and alongside everyday groceries such as bread and milk.The charity is calling for supermarkets and off-licenses to confine displays of alcohol to a single area of their premises. Such a measure is already in place in Scotland and is supported by the Welsh Assembly Government, whilst 70% of 1,000 supermarket customers in Wales surveyed have also backed the proposal.

Alcohol Concern's research found:

  • Discounted alcohol located directly inside store entrances, on food aisles, seasonal aisles, free standing displays and at checkout areas.
  • Examples included wine on sale next to soft drinks and fruit juice, bottles of spirits alongside bread and tea, cans of cider next to the hot chicken counter, and bottles of champagne next to the milk.

Mark Leyshon of Alcohol Concern Cymru said:

"Supermarkets are overflowing with discount alcohol, and it's often displayed throughout the store. It's now common practice to sell wine next ready-meals for example, pushing the idea that a relaxing meal should be accompanied by an alcoholic drink.

"Such practices promote alcohol as a normal commodity, like any other type of food or drink. They help to fuel a drinking culture in Wales, where 52% of men and 38% of women already regularly consume more than the recommended amounts of alcohol.

"Alcohol can be a pleasant part of a healthy lifestyle, but it's also a potentially dangerous and harmful drug. Supermarkets need to listen to their customers, the majority of whom support measures to confine displays of alcohol to a single part of the store."

Alcohol Concern Cymru recommends:

  • Displays of alcohol in supermarkets and all other off-sales premises should be confined to a single area;
  • Supermarkets and all other off-sales premises should make greater efforts to inform the public of the dangers of alcohol, specifically providing clear health warnings both where alcohol is displayed and at the point of sale.
  • To reduce the problem of deep discounting of alcohol by supermarkets, a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol should be introduced, in line with the recommendations of the UK's Chief Medical Officers.

Download a copy of the Alcohol Concern briefing paper Out of the way? Alcohol displays in supermarkets.