RTDs, part spirit or wine combined with a sweet non-alcoholic mixer, are becoming an increasing concern for underage drinkers with businesses dedicating more fridge space to the drinks as well as lowering prices and offering a wider variety of products.
The study’s results have been published in Drug and Alcohol Review in an article entitled ‘RTDS in Australia: expensive designer drinks or cheap rocket fuel?’
The CHI research revealed that the RTD market has, intentionally or not, catered to a younger market of consumers.
Rural areas were of particular concern, with 42% of all fridge space allocated to the drinks, although the problems were evident across all areas of the study.
Findings also included a change in the target market of RTDs. Females were the main consumers when the drinks were introduced in 2003. However, the study identified that a high proportion of RTDs in NSW are those preferred by male drinkers, such as those with a dark-spirit base. Professor Jones stated that this could in part explain the shift in adolescent males’ drinking preferences from beer to RTDs.
It was also found that stores have been pricing multipacks of RTDs in such a way that it is often cheaper to buy a four-pack than three single units or a six-pack than five units.
CHI Director Professor Sandra Jones said the appeal of RTDs to young people was a concerning issue as research in NSW has shown that 80% of alcohol consumption among 14-24 year olds is considered dangerous.
“The CHI’s conclusions underline the need to further address the ethics surrounding RTD products. The negative influence marketing, availability and prices of RTDs have on encouraging unsafe drinking levels on the youth of our community is an issue that should not be ignored,” Professor Jones said.
For further information contact Professor Sandra Jones on 4221 5106 or 0402 848 743
Released by: Jenna Bradwell