Sainsbury's booze cut sparks binge row

It's a novel way of launching an anti-binge drinking campaign. Why, you slash the cost of booze!

It's what Sainsbury's have done on a range of low-alcohol products including wine and mixer cans. So is Sainsbury's 'responsible drinking' move just another ploy to flog more cheap drink while claiming social responsibility brownie points at the same time?

Marketing trick?

Alcohol Concern boss Eric Appleby told the Mail that the move "rather cynically uses the trappings of responsibility as a promotional hook in what is really just product marketing." He added: "The campaign is essentially a seasonal one, using the traditional January respite after the festive season to promote lines that are marginally lower in alcohol content."

The move is politically sensitive given that David Cameron is thought to want a ban on a sale of cheap booze. Some English councils are even considering bylaws to put in place minimum alcohol prices.

And despite the more responsible drinking push, Sainsbury's is still pushing promotions on large 440m cans. For example, a pack of Foster's laga - 15 cans - is running on a £9.19 promotion currently.

Double sales

Alcohol remains the biggest cause of death amongst young people and is thought to cost the UK £20 billion a year. Visit your local supermarket or store and see how much floor space is given to alcohol - many stores groan with cans, bottles and fridges.

Scotland is currently proposing a minimum alcohol price of about 45p a unit, spurred by a recent report that claimed Scottish adults consume 23% more alcohol than adults in England and Wales.

Meanwhile Sainsbury's has set itself a target to double sales of light wines – wine that have an alcohol content of 10.5% or below – by 2020.
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