Responsible retailing of alcohol, tobacco and other age-restricted products

Our approach

We recognise that some products we sell, such as alcohol, tobacco, energy drinks, knives, and products containing corrosive substances can be harmful if misused or unhealthy if consumed too often. It is an issue our customers care about and we take our responsibility as a retailer of these products seriously.

To support our customers and the communities we serve there are products that are age restricted, which means that customers may be required to verify their age when making a purchase in store or online.

We also want to ensure customers are informed about the effects of these products and our approach to tackling potential misuse. We have outlined our approach to the responsible retail of age restricted products below, which is driven through our partnerships with local communities, government, health bodies and the wider industry.

Alcohol

Providing information

We are committed to providing clear information to customers. All our labels on own brand alcoholic products have on-pack nutritional information and include unit and calorie content, portion guidelines, NHS guidelines, and a warning about drinking when pregnant. We support colleagues and customers through providing information on responsible drinking in-store, online and through Tesco customer and colleague magazines. Tesco is the lead retail partner of Drinkaware and work with them to highlight alcohol awareness and responsible drinking guidance. All on pack labels on own brand alcohol products contain a link to the Drinkaware website, and we provide a link to 'mydrinkaware' on our Wine Club website so our customers can access guidance, and use their logo in our magazines and on signage in store.

We do not position adverts containing alcoholic products in outdoor spaces within 100m of schools. As part of our responsible approach to advertising where appropriate we will include non-alcoholic drinks in visuals as well as alcoholic drinks.

Unit Reduction

As part of our commitment to responsible drinking we have committed to increasing our range of low and mid strength beers, growing our offer of lower alcohol wines and reducing the ABV (alcohol by volume) of beer and cider where possible.

Preventing under-age sales

We clearly communicate to our customers that alcohol is a product for adults. We have strong systems in place to ensure we do not sell to underage customers, including our ‘Think 25’ policy to help staff know when to ask for ID and refuse a sale where appropriate. We also use checkout prompts, including a date of birth, to support our colleagues when checking ID on alcoholic and low alcoholic and alcohol free variants of alcoholic brands. Our colleagues are trained to understand their responsibilities and this training is reviewed regularly. We also use mystery shoppers to test whether our cashiers are correctly challenging customers to prove their age.

Partnership

While we recognise our responsibility as a retailer to encourage responsible drinking, we cannot do this alone and so we engage in a number of industry-wide initiatives. This includes abiding by the Portman Code, participating in the Campaign for Smarter Drinking, working with our retail and product brand partners as chair of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s Retail Alcohol Standards Group, and working with local communities through Community Alcohol Partnerships  and our Good Neighbour programme.  

Working with communities

We understand the need to be responsible retailers in the communities we operate in and play an active role in tackling problem underage drinking in local communities. We work with local authorities and police forces to address issues of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour in and around our stores. Through Community Action Partnerships we work closely with local authorities and bring together organisations as well as other off licences in the area to play a key role in reducing alcohol sales to minors, reducing the purchase of alcohol for minors, and reducing alcohol-related anti-social behaviour. This has had a real impact on local communities as evaluations in each of these areas have shown.

Minimum pricing

We are committed to engaging constructively in discussions with government on ways we can help tackle alcohol misuse, including minimum pricing. We comply with minimum price in the markets where it is in position and do not sell alcohol below cost.

High caffeine energy drinks

Since 2013 energy drinks have not been marketed or promoted to under-16s and all energy drinks carry a recommendation that they are not for children. However, our customers tell us that they would like more help in preventing children from buying these drinks. As a result in March 2018 we introduced measures to prevent the sale of energy drinks to under 16’s through our ‘Think 25’ policy across the UK.

Our restriction applies to high caffeine energy drinks that contain more than 15mg/100ml of caffeine, as defined by the European Food Standards Agency.

The restriction does not apply to sports drinks which do not meet this requirement.

As part of our support of the #notforchildrencampaign we promote our approach to the responsible sale of energy drinks in store and online.

Our colleagues are also trained on our approach to ensure they can identify restricted products and support customers.

Other restricted products: tobacco, knives and corrosives 

For other restricted products like tobacco, knives and corrosive substances, we also have a clear “Think 25” policy. We display posters in aisles where age restricted products are on sale and also at each till. Online customers are also made aware which products are age restricted online. Customers can only purchase these products through Click and Collect or grocery home shopping so we are able to conduct a full face to face ID check.

Enforcement Authorities may make test purchases from time to time, to check that we are not selling age-restricted products to underage customers. We also conduct our own test purchases to ensure Think 25 is followed.

Our policies have been developed in consultation with Trading Standards, as part of the government backed Primary Authority scheme. We have also agreed to voluntary commitments with the Home Office on the responsible retailing of knives and corrosive substances.

Table of Age-restricted products

Age restriction

Age-restricted products 

Age Policy for colleagues to follow in store

18

Alcohol (and zero-alcohol branded

products e.g. Becks Blue)

Think 25

18

Tobacco products

Think 25

18

Nicotine inhaling products,

i.e., E-cigarettes

Think 25

18

 

Butane refills

Think 25

Do not sell to any age if you

suspect the product is being abused

Psychoactive substances

i.e., Any products containing

solvents (glue, aerosols) 

Think 25

18

Knives

Including household cutlery, axe and

razor blades, any items with a blade or sharp point which could be adapted to cause injury to persons

Think 25

18

Scissors

Think 25

18

 

Category 2 outdoor sparklers/

fireworks (fireworks for external use).

Indoor fireworks, sparkler candles. 

Think 25

16

 

Category 1 Fireworks (small, usually

indoor). sparklers, Indoor fireworks,

sparkler candles.

 

Think 25

16

Lighters and matches,

kitchen/long reach/candle lighter

 

Think 25

16

 

Liqueur chocolates

Think 25

16

 

Party poppers

Think 25

16

All lottery and Scratchcard products including The Health Lottery

 

Think 25

16

Petrol

Think 25

16

 

Aerosol paints

 

Think 25

16

Paracetamol, ibuprofen,

aspirin, laxative

 

Think 25

12

Christmas crackers

Colleague judgement

 

Age given on product

 

DVD/computer games/magazines

with DVD's, some music CD's

 

 

Think 25