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Alcopops in Sweden - a supply side initiative

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This paper describes the introduction of alcopops and sweet ciders in Sweden in 1996, as a result of the membership of the European Union. Special attention is given to its effect on youth drinking. Surveys of young people show that alcopops and sweet ciders are perceived to be easy to drink and to have a sweet and pleasant taste, which tends to conceal the taste of alcohol. These results suggest that alcopops and sweet ciders should be regarded as one category of drinks. Alcopops and sweet ciders have penetrated the youth market rapidly. The introduction of these beverages accounted for approximately half of the increase in alcohol consumption by 15-16-year-old boys from 1996 to 1999, and two-thirds of the increase among girls, according to the surveys. A large proportion of the youth answered that alcopops and ciders did not replace any other alcoholic beverage. The paper also describes the public debate on alcopops and cider. The introduction of alcopops was criticized by the media and the responsible minister. Prominent spokesmen of the alcohol industry put themselves at a distance from these, primarily imported, products. The sales of alcopops have been declining since 1997. Sweet ciders, on the other hand, which in reality are synonymous with alcopops, have continued to increase during the whole period since 1996, and have not been subject to the same public criticism.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: December 1, 2000


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