EBCU Survey Uncovers Beer Label Preferences Across Europe

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The European Beer Consumers Union (EBCU) has just released the findings of a comprehensive survey targeting beer labeling preferences among consumers in Europe, conducted and analyzed by the University of Bamberg. Engaging with a broad demographic, the survey encompassed 2,666 individuals across 26 European countries, aiming to understand what key information beer consumers are most interested in when it comes to their choice of brew.

Key Insights from the Survey

Transparency on Alcohol Content and Beer Style: A common thread across Europe is the demand for clear information about the alcohol level and the type of beer inside the bottle, enabling consumers to make more informed choices.

Brew Date Information: Freshness is key, particularly for Italian beer lovers, who prefer to see the brewing date prominently on their beer labels.

Language Localization: In regions such as the UK and Italy, there’s a strong preference for product information in the local language, highlighting the importance of cultural sensitivity and accessibility in labeling.

Cultural Commonalities and Variations

Belgium and the Netherlands: Both countries show a distinctive interest in the recipe of the beer, suggesting a shared cultural appreciation for the craftsmanship behind beer production.

Austria and Germany: True to their historic Bayerisches Reinheitsgebot, or Bavarian Purity Law, consumers exhibit an intense focus on the ingredients list, demanding meticulous detail on their labels.

Ingredients Spotlight: The ingredients list holds particular significance for German and Austrian consumers, aligning with these countries’ centuries-old traditions in beer purity and quality.

“This survey has revealed a wealth of information about consumer preferences which can be invaluable to beer producers and marketers across Europe,” states Professor Claus-Christian Carbon, PhD, study leader of the current survey, “European beer consumers want to make informed decisions about the beer they drink, and they’re clearly telling us that knowledge about ingredients, brewing processes, and alcohol content is vital to their enjoyment.”

The EBCU advocates for enhanced label clarity to better serve the European beer consumers. This survey indicates a movement towards a more informed consumer base that values transparency and detail, and the EBCU calls on breweries and legislative bodies to respond to this call to action. EBCU suggests breweries to implement QR code systems that assists in the right choice of the best beer for the given situation, including propagating and motivating a differentiated, knowledgeable, and responsible drinking behavior.

Beyond the retail shelf, the on-trade environment—encompassing bars, pubs, and restaurants—also presents a vital frontier for beer labeling transparency. Our survey findings illuminate a  desire for consistency in information, extending to draught beers served on-premise. The beer consumers are expressing a clear preference for access to the same level of detail about their beer’s characteristics, origin, and ingredients, as they would find on packaged products. Highlighting this aspect underscores the importance of informed choices in all settings, potentially broadening the discourse on labeling requirements and consumer education within the on-trade sector.

“The survey’s findings are a call to action for us,” says André Brunnsberg, Chairman of the EBCU. “Working alongside our 19 member organizations, we’re planning targeted activities, potentially including symposia, workshops and discussions, to advance beer labeling practices that align with consumer preferences across Europe.”

For a full report or more details on the survey, please contact media@ebcu.org.

Contact Information:
Professor Claus-Christian Carbon, PhD
University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany
Email: ccc@uni-bamberg.de
Phone: +49 951 863-1861

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