NZBC Statement: Health warnings on non-alcoholic beverages

Auckland: 23 February 2016

New Zealand Beverage Council members fully support well-constructed efforts to educate consumers on the nutritional content of food and drinks so that they can make informed choices to suit their lifestyles.

Over the past few years, the focus on sharing factual nutritional information and increasing the choice available for consumers has contributed to the continuing trend of kiwis purchasing smaller portion control drink packs and more no and low kilojoule products. (1)

Labels such as those proposed by the Dental Association serve only to scare and shame those who may enjoy the occasional treat food or drink. In addition they unfairly focus on a single ingredient and on one product group when dietary experts widely agree the focus should be on total diet and lifestyle choice and in the case of teeth, good dental hygiene.

Additionally such graphic images are unnecessary. The Council believes New Zealand consumers have become increasingly aware of the need for a healthy lifestyle based on a balance of good diet and exercise. Council believes that treat foods and beverages can play a part in a balanced lifestyle and recognises the importance of making available a range of products that allow for choice. Statistics provided by members show that consumers are already drinking less sugar sweetened beverage. The Ministry of Health’s Adult National Nutrition survey shows that energy from beverages is small part of the kiwi adult diet and declining. (1)

A prerequisite of membership of the NZBC Members is agreement with the Voluntary Code of Practice and Administration Rules for the New Zealand Juice & Beverage Industry that requires all members to comply fully with all compositional and labelling legislation, specifically Article 4 ( 4.1) (2)

This includes the Nutritional Information Panel (NIP) mandated by the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (ANZFSC).

In addition members of the NZBC are fully committed to the voluntary adoption of the Health Star Ratings systems introduced in 2015. (3)

NZBC members will continue to explore ways to develop products that meet consumer expectations in regard to low and no sugar options, remain committed to ensuring that products are labelled and promoted in ways designed to allow for informed choice and that packaging provides an accurate summary of ingredients.

1) The Facts

• Non-Alcoholic Ready To Drink (NARTD) beverages (NARTDs), are 5% of the energy**** consumed by the average kiwi adult *****

• Regular sugar-sweetened carbonated soft drinks contribute 1.6% of the energy in an adult diet. ***

• Amongst ALL Non-Alcoholic Ready To Drink (NARTD) beverages, one in three are diet/low kilojoule (32.2%), up from 27.7% in 2013.**

• Overall, regular NARTD beverages continue to decline (down 1.1% versus 2014, while NARTD diet/low kilojoule beverages have experienced double digit increase ( 11.2%).**

• Low kilojoule carbonated soft drinks comprise 30% of the category, up from 28.7% in • Two of the top four carbonated soft drink brands are diet/low kilojoule.***

* NARTD covers all packaged beverages including milk drinks.
** Source: NZ Nielsen RMS Scan MAT 06/09/2015
*** IRI-Aztec MarketEdge Scan, Total Defined Petrol,Total $ sales by CSD brand, 13 weeks ending 06/09/15
**** Energy in non-alcoholic beverages comes from carbohydrate, sucrose (added sugar), glucose, fructose (juices), protein and fat (milk drinks).
***** Ministry of Health National Nutrition Survey 2008/09 – most current survey.

(2) Voluntary Code of Practice and Administration Rules for the New Zealand Juice & Beverage Industry


4.1. Members and Signatories (whether manufacturers, processors, distributors or others) are expected to observe good manufacturing and marketing practices for fruit juice, water and other non-alcoholic cold beverages (excluding milk) and to observe the provisions of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and related legislation and agree not to engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or that is likely to mislead or deceive or engage in any other conduct in breach of the Fair Trading Act 1986. Such conduct would include, but is not limited to:

4.1.1. Misrepresentation about composition, grade, contents or the like.
4.1.2. Misleading or deceptive labelling.
4.1.3. Misleading or deceptive packaging.
4.1.4. Misleading or deceptive advertising.
4.1.5. Labelling breaches.

(2) NZBC manufacturing members share, on pack, the nutritional content of their products via:
- Voluntary adoption of the Health Star Ratings systems introduced in 2015. (3)
- Nutritional Information Panel (NIP) mandated by the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (ANZFSC).

(3) Policy Statement released 7 October 2015

Non-alcoholic beverages sold at retail level in New Zealand will carry new Health Star ratings on their labels as soon as practicable following a decision by members of the New Zealand Beverage Council (NZBC).

Adding the HSR system to new labels has begun and it will be applied to all relevant products as packaging is revised or renewed.

Members of the Council, who produce more than 95 percent of all juice and non-alcoholic beverages sold in New Zealand dairies, stores and supermarkets, will subject the success of the initiative to independent review.

They agreed unanimously at the Council’s annual conference in late September that the HSR was a useful tool in helping consumers understand what’s in their food and to enable them to make appropriate choices. In addition to on-pack guidelines a, they fully support a comprehensive consumer education programme that involves all parties to draw attention to the system’s usefulness.

Council president Olly Munro says the vote is further acknowledgement that the New Zealand beverage industry recognises it can make an important contribution to help those dealing with issues relating to health and lifestyle choices. He said changing labels is a multi-million dollar cost but the industry is committed to assisting consumers understand better what’s in their food and to make better choices. In addition the industry would continue to offer a range of low and no kilojoule options, would continue to look at ways of reducing sugar in its products and was working on smaller or alternative pack and portion sizes as well as remaining committed to responsible marketing.

The New Zealand Beverage Council

The NZBC represents the manufacturers of New Zealand's juice, carbonated drink and bottled water brands, and their suppliers. The NZBC acts:

• as a forum to discuss issues of concern and interest to the industry
• as a self-regulator ensuring product adherence to all relevant codes and statutes
• as a provider of technical assistance to members
• as an advocate for consumer education on health and nutrition issues.

Currently, the NZBC membership represents around 95 percent of all juice and non-alcoholic beverages sold at a retail level.

For further information email or contact:

President - Olly Munro on 021 398 145 

Executive Director - Kerry R Tyack on 027 457 0942

© The New Zealand Beverage Council (Inc.), 2016.

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