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Unit Awareness – it’s all about choice

On 02/05/13 by Daisy Blench (Policy Manager - Responsibility)

Some licensees, already under pressure to keep their business afloat in a challenging economic climate, may see the Customer Unit Awareness posters(and the other downloadable materials), recently circulated by Sky Sports, as pointless. They might even be tempted to
chuck them in the bin.

However, it is important to remember that providing information to customers is not the same as telling them what to do. It is merely one step that responsible retailers can take to educate consumers about the unit content of their drinks and help them make informed choices at the bar . After all, pubs are already the home of responsible drinking and this is just another way to demonstrate that. As many licensees as possible should display the poster in their pub and download the additional materials available.

More broadly, the Public Health Responsibility Deal, an initiative by the Government to work with business to improve public health through voluntary mechanisms, has been a focus for businesses large and small to engage on the issue of public health. It encourages businesses to think about how they can help to educate and inform consumers so that they can make a healthier or more responsible choice, if they so wish.

Because ultimately choice is what it’s all about. No-one wants anyone telling them that they should give that last drink a miss or perhaps choose the salad option from the menu. But if we can help people know how many units are in their pint then shouldn’t we do so? And if customers want a lower calorie meal isn’t it sensible to give them the option?

Of course, plenty of people will still choose their pie and chips the same as they have always done, and it will do them no harm. It is not the pub’s role to stop them - each to their own – but, providing choice and responding to customer demand, well, surely that’s just good business?

Putting up a unit awareness poster, stocking a 2.8% beer on the bar, promoting smaller serves or highlighting the healthy choice on the menu - there are plenty of ways that companies and pubs can get involved in the responsibility agenda and really why would they not?


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