A plan to target middle-class shoppers with a new generation of lower-alcohol wines is set to be launched by the industry and the government in a bid to combat binge drinking, The Grocer can reveal.
The new pledge under the Responsibility Deal is scheduled to be unveiled within days, including a campaign in stores across the country to promote the increasing ranges of lower-abv products.
Most leading drinks manufacturers and all the big supermarkets have agreed to take part.
The Grocer revealed last month that health secretary Andrew Lansley wanted to slash a billion units of alcohol from shelves and ministers expected the industry to co-operate through NPD. “There is a major issue of middle-class drinkers consuming too many units at home and this is seen as a major way to tackle it,” said a source close to the government. “We’ve been working really hard with the industry, there’s been a good response.”
However, industry sources have expressed exasperation at the lack of a clear message between Number 10 and the DH, with Cameron’s aides making it clear he is pushing ahead with minimum pricing despite huge opposition from suppliers, retailers and his own ministers.
“The question is what co-ordination is there between No 10 and the DH,” said one retail source involved in the talks. “I assume the PM knows what he wants but there is a huge amount of confusion because it’s just not clear to what extent the government wants to work with the industry or crack down on it.”