In an effort to reduce binge drinking, supermarket chain Tesco is removing strong alcoholic beverages from shelves in one of its Scottish stores. The chain decided to remove beverages with more than 5.5 percent alcohol content after strict licensing laws aimed at tackling alcohol abuse were implemented in the region.
The laws in question were passed by the West Dunbartonshire Council as part of a legislative effort to reduce alcohol abuse. The area is one of Scotland’s most affected regions, with alcohol abuse a major social issue. Tesco believes that it can continue to achieve profitability on alcohol sales without stocking strong alcoholic beverages.
Grocery stores in the region are required to pull beverages with an alcohol content of more than 5.5 percent off their shelves. They are also restricted from selling any alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine. Finally, they must only sell drinks in packs of four or more to limit daytime drinking by students and other at-risk groups.
The council’s legislation is some of the toughest in Britain, but Tesco believes that it is important for improving the community. The company has previously removed a variety of high-strength alcoholic drinks from its shelves based on feedback from its customers, including high-strength white cider drinks.
The supermarket chain has faced ailing profits throughout 2013, largely due to its involvement in the horsemeat scandal. Nevertheless, Tesco remains one of the UK’s largest alcohol outlets, with many of its stores stocking a variety of alcoholic drinks that contribute heavily to the chain’s total sales.
While the outright ban on high-strength beverages is the first of its type announced by a major grocery chain, it may not be the last. Depending on the success of alcohol restrictions in West Dunbartonshire, other regional councils may implement their own high-strength alcohol license restrictions.