As reported in The Grocer last month, a billion units of alcohol will be shed by the alcohol industry as part of the Responsibility Deal.
Diageo, Heineken, Accolade Wines, Molson Coors and Brand Phoenix are among the manufacturers that will offer a wider range of lower strength drinks by 2015.
Retailers have also signed up to the deal. Tesco will reduce the alcohol content of its own-label beer and cider, while Sainsbury’s have promised to double the sales of lighter alcohol wine and reduce the alcohol content of own brand wine and beer by 2020.
Meanwhile, wholesaler Makro will no longer sell own brand super-strength lager. Bestway, Booker, The Co-operative Group, Costcutter, Nisa Retail and Spar UK have also signed up.
“Cutting alcohol by a billion units will help more people drink sensibly and within the guidelines,” said health secretary Andrew Lansley. “This pledge forms a key part of the shared responsibility we will encourage as part of the alcohol strategy.”
The ACS and FWD have also promised to communicate the responsibility deal pledges to all their members, supporting them with information and guidance to reduce alcohol harm.
“This is a clear signal that the convenience sector is continuing its work to reduce alcohol harm and support the Government’s responsibility deal,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman. “Local shops play an essential role in their community and the responsible retailing of alcohol is a top priority.”
James Bielby, FWD chief executive, added: “FWD members support the Government’s aims to reduce alcohol harm and will work with suppliers and retailers to deliver the Responsibility Deal’s targets.”
It is hoped the Responsibility Deal will result in almost 1,000 fewer alcohol related deaths per year; thousands of fewer hospital admissions and alcohol related crimes, as well as substantial savings to health services and crime costs each year.
However some of the signatories to the new pledge are already expressing anger that the deal was announced on the same day Prime Minister David Cameron revealed his intention to introduce a minimum per unit price for alcohol of 40p in England and Wales.