Daily Archives: 03/03/2014

Calories on wine bottles

The Telegraph has published an article recently about the move by Sainsbury’s, one of the UK’s leading supermarkets, to label 20 of its own brand wines with the calorie content of a 125ml glass.

This has led to for and against articles:

On the for side we have will it cure women’s binge drinking which you can read here saying:

“No matter how many times government officials, TV ads and magazine horror stories urge women not to drink too much, for fear of getting seriously ill, it doesn’t seem to make much difference. Pointing out to them that drinking too much will make them fatter, will.

That’s why calories should be put on all wine bottles, spirits and beer bottles (some brands already advertise ‘diet’ beers – e.g. Coors Light – and many modern men, let alone women, gladly choose to drink it over fattier beer).

So Sainsbury’s is onto something here. Putting calories on wine bottles – appealing to vanity over health – could just prompt a step change in women’s attitude to heavy drinking in Britain.”

On the against side we have the fact that this will ‘spoil’ the pleasure of drinking wine, which you can read here and says:

“Our national conspiracy of silence is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact it’s a positively Darwinian response to threats to peace and happiness. A little self-deception goes a long way towards a good night’s sleep.

Do we acknowledge that fact out loud? Umm, duh. Silence, in this case, is as golden as a Chablis Premier Cru.

And so it is with wine and calories. Do we know that white wine contains sugar? Of course we do – that’s one of the many reasons we drink it. It gives you that great lift of energy at wine o’clock – especially when accompanied by a handful of giant cashews.

Yet here comes the Truth Police – aka the head office of supermarket giant Sainsbury’s – which has decided that sticking our middle-class heads in the sand about how many calories there are in our medicinal glass of early evening sauvignon blanc is no longer OK.

These Dementors – sucking the joy out of high street shoppers as their namesakes did to the prisoners of Azkaban in the Harry Potter novel – have decided For Our Own Good to publish calorie counts on the front of its wine bottles.”

The latter article is fine except when the conspiracy of silence leads to a serious addiction to the substance concerned.  If getting people to think about wine in calorific terms helps them to make an informed decision then all well and good.  I welcome the debate and I am really pleased that Sainsbury’s are leading the way in responsible marketing of their products.  Now if the label were to say the number of units per 125 ml glass for it’s ABV and the calorific value then we would really be on to something 🙂