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Portman considers health' guidelines

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Portman Group will consider including guidelines on health claims for alcoholic drinks when it reviews its code of practice later this year.

The move comes in the wake of growing concern among regulators that healthy' claims for beverages are largely unproven. But the sector is one of the fastest-growing around the globe.

According to research from Zenith International, more than 20 new drinks claiming to improve heart health' came onto the market last year as consumers switched away from high sugar content and carbonated products.

Among the products highlighted by Zenith were soft drinks that claim to assist weight management by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates and controlling appetite.

In Portugal, a brewery owned by Scottish & Newcastle has introduced a bottled water that it claims encourages weight loss.

Other products launched last year about which dietary claims are being made include bottled waters infused with fruit and herbs, such cranberries and Echinacea, lemon and Siberian ginseng, and tangerine and gingko biloba.

Meanwhile, an Indian company is offering Ladybird Bio Beer, which it claims prevents hangovers, reduces the effects of arthritis and lowers cholesterol levels, while in the Czech Republic research is underway into brewing a beer that relieves the symptoms of the menopause.