AB Inbev confident calorie info will ‘strengthen brand experience’ as it commits to new labelling

AB Inbev is to add calorie content information to around 80 per cent of its beer brands by 2017, a move which the brewer says will “further strengthen consumer’s brand experience”, despite the fears from other alcohol manufactures that the information could limit the impact of their brands on packaging.

The brewer of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s said it decided to add the information as part of its broader ambition to curb excessive and harmful drinking. However the move also follows claims from the Local Government Association (LGA), a lobby group, which represents 370 councils, that calories from alcohol have no nutritional value and are contributing to an escalating obesity crisis.

“This starts with providing choice to our consumers – including great tasting low-alcohol and no-alcohol beers like market leading Beck’s Blue in the UK,” AB Inbev marketing director, UK and Ireland, Nick Robinson told The Drum.

“We have to ensure full information for all our beers is easily available so consumers can decide which beer is right for them on which occasion.”

New labels, cans and packaging will now have to be created and produced. While the brewer has set a target to add the labelling to 80 per cent of its European volume by the end of 2017, it has in the interim implemented ingredient and nutrition information for its brands on an online platform called www.tapintoyourbeer.com.

Despite intial concerns that adding calorie content could have negative ramifications on brand impact in store and in bar, Robinson is confident that adding the information will be a positive move.

“I think it will be quite the opposite, our overarching objective is to promote responsible drinking amongst our consumers and this principle is implemented through our marketing and branding strategy as well,” he said. “We think that providing this extra information will have a significant impact on consumer awareness and promote responsible drinking as part of our branding."

Robinson cited its own tesearch which suggested consumers are already actively looking at the calorie information of their drinks.

"So making this information more readily available will further strengthen consumer’s brand experience – giving them the ability to make responsible choices, easily," he explained.

In terms of design, the look and feel of the labels will reflect that of Ab Inbev’s low and no alcohol beer labelling – including Beck’s Blue in the UK which already provides such information.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.