Pernod Ricard range

Pernod Ricard will add a web address all its major brands before the end of 2017, directing shoppers to products’ nutritional information in a move to “improve consumer understanding”.

The drinks giant said all of its spirits brands and most of its wine and Champagne brands had already published the information on their respective sites, but the new move meant an address would be included on the label of all bottles by the end of the year.

It comes after the European Commission decided not to enforce mandatory nutritional labelling on alcoholic drinks, instead calling on the industry to come up with a more effective way to inform consumers of their products’ nutritional content.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) welcomed the challenge to develop a self-regulatory proposal within a year and submit it to the European Commission for consideration.

“Trying to cram more information on product labels which have limited space is a backward step,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA.

“We should not be using 20th-century methods on a 21st-century issue. People who want to know more about what they are drinking are very capable of going online and finding out for themselves. The alcohol industry has shown they are ahead of the game on nutrition information and have for some time provided consumers with off-label calorific content of drinks.”

The Scotch Whisky Association said it would study the European Commission’s proposals on the labelling of alcoholic beverages and consult with its members.

“We believe that Scotch whisky should be consumed in a responsible manner, as part of a balanced diet,” said Julie Hesketh-Laird, acting chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association. “It is right that consumers have the information they need to make choices that fit with a healthy lifestyle, including calorie intake. The Scotch whisky industry is therefore happy to provide meaningful information in a format that is simple to understand and linked with actual serving sizes, supporting consumer choice.”