How many units in your drink? – Consumer campaign launched

Retailers have today unveiled a national campaign to raise consumer understanding about the number of units in their favourite drinks.

The campaign forms part of retailer’s commitment to the public health Responsibility Deal and is currently being rolled out in stores across the UK. It is supported by major retailer members of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, British Retail Consortium and the Association of Convenience Stores including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Spar, Morrisons, the Co-op, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Aldi and Lidl.

The ‘How many units in your drink?’ message will be displayed on posters, shelf barkers and till screen adverts in store to encourage consumers to understand how much alcohol is in their favourite drink. This follows extensive research conducted with consumers and retailers in partnership with Drinkaware.

The ‘2-2-2-1’ message, which ties in with that currently on display in pubs and bars, shows the number of units in a typical can of 4% abv lager, 330ml bottle of 5% lager, 175 ml glass of 12% ABV wine and a single measure of a 40% ABV spirit.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley MP said:

“Drinking too much can increase your risk of high blood pressure, cancer or liver disease. So it’s great to see all the major retailers getting behind the Responsibility Deal's work to improve awareness of alcohol units.

“Thousands of stores around the country will now help people understand how many units are in drinks they buy and help them keep track of how much they are drinking. This coincides with the launch of a new Change4Life alcohol campaign – if people want to track their drinking they should visit the Change4Life website and use the new online drinks calculator.”

WSTA Interim Chief Executive Gavin Partington said:

“This demonstrates the commitment of the major retailers to deliver the objectives of the public health Responsibility Deal by providing simple and effective unit information at point of sale to millions of consumers across the UK.“

Drinkaware Chief Executive Chris Sorek said:

“Today’s announcement is an important step in educating consumers about alcohol units and how they translate into their favourite drinks. We welcome the WSTA and its members’ commitment to deliver this consumer-friendly guide and look forward to seeing the campaign rolled out across the UK. We feel the “2-2-2-1” approach will quickly become the way people keep track of their units on a night out.”

Henry Ashworth, Chief Executive, The Portman Group said: “It is really encouraging to see information on alcohol units and drinking guidelines being rolled out in retail premises, alongside pubs, bars and on product labels. This is an important collective voluntary initiative in helping people understand whether they're drinking sensibly.”

James Lowman, Chief Executive, ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) said:

“We are pleased to support this initiative and promote it in the convenience sector. Our experience of similar successful initiatives such as ‘Challenge 25’ (on preventing underage alcohol purchasing) shows that if consumers see the same message in all the places they shop then it will have more impact. We expect this initiative to grow in a similar way and have an impact on consumer awareness and attitudes.”

An image of the point of sale material that will be appearing in stores can be found here:


Notes to Editors:

The WSTA is the UK lobbying organisation for the wine and spirit industry representing over 340 companies producing, importing, transporting and selling wines and spirits.

We campaign to promote the industry’s interests with governments at home and abroad.

We work with our members to promote the responsible production, marketing and sale of alcohol.

Drinkaware provides consumers with information to make informed decisions about the effects of alcohol on their lives and lifestyles. Its public education programmes, grants, expert information, and resources help create awareness and effect positive change. An independent charity established in 2007, Drinkaware works alongside the medical profession, the alcohol industry and government to achieve its goals. For further information visit

For more information please contact Aileen Keyes:

Tel:       +44 (0) 207 089 3881

Mob:     +44 (0) 7504 498 656

Email:   [email protected]


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