Sunday 22 September 2019

Another nudge to customers that grocery shopping should not include alcohol

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The planned ban on alcohol purchases in return for supermarket loyalty card points is another attempt to "denormalise" drink from regular groceries.

It is a nudge to shoppers to question themselves before buying that bottle of wine or gin and putting it into the shopping basket with bread and washing powder.

Without a loyalty card reward shoppers may also be less likely to bulk buy alcohol if the supermarket is offering extra points.

The other planned measure involving the outlawing of discounted deals - which encourage shoppers to purchase one slab of beer and get another for half price - would mean shoppers will no longer end up with a special offer "bargain" as they walk out with a massive 24 litres of alcohol.

If this gets the green light from the EU, it should be in place by September next year.

It is unlikely there will be any objection from the EU as some other countries have implemented similar measures already.

In November next year shops will be required to have work completed to physically separate alcohol from other products.

While these elements of the Public Health Alcohol Act are another step in a bid to curb excess drinking, the Government has yet to trigger the most controversial parts of the legislation passed last year.

It still remains unclear when it will introduce minimum unit pricing. Minimum pricing is largely aimed at raising the cost of cheap lager, cider and spirits sold in supermarkets and off-licences to reduce consumption.

The uncertainty caused by Brexit as well as the fear of more shoppers going North for cheaper drink is expected to delay its introduction here further.

The broadcast watershed which would see alcohol ads not aired at certain times on television to protect young viewers also remains to be regulated for.

The legislation took long enough to be passed - a marathon three years.

It means valuable time has already been lost to try to change our drinking culture.

Irish Independent

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