Drinks watchdog finds Tesco breached code


Supermarket chain Tesco breached alcohol marketing rules by allowing wine to be promoted and sold close to products aimed at children, a report by a drinks industry watchdog said today.

A member of the public complained it was irresponsible to locate a display of bottles for a wine festival in the supermarket's Roselawn, Blanchardstown store in west Dublin next to shelves with party balloons and treats.

Industry-funded group Meas (Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society) welcomed the growing number of complaints being brought to its independent complaints panel.

Meas chief executive Fionnuala Sheehan said: “It is the vigilance of individual citizens that is the most effective way of bringing irresponsible practices in the marketing and sale of alcohol to our attention, and I would encourage people to be willing to highlight any such matters that come to their attention.”

The complainant said she contacted in-store management about her concerns but was told the decision on display positions was made at Tesco Ireland headquarters.

She said she could not get in touch with the relevant person at HQ and that the promotion was rolled out both last summer and autumn.

The complaints panel noted that under the Meas code of conduct, alcoholic products must be sold in the appropriate section.

It also said promotions that are linked to or positioned near products that appeal to children should not be run as it risked leading to alcohol abuse and anti-social behaviour.

The panel noted a statement from Tesco Ireland that it would never blatantly sell alcohol alongside products exclusively for children.

It added the design of the store allowed for a dedicated aisle for the sale of alcoholic products such as wines, beers and spirits.

Additional reporting: PA