Alcohol policy

Being responsible about Alcohol

UK Position Statement. Last updated: 13/07/2016

Our approach

Consumed responsibly, alcohol can be enjoyed as part of a healthy balanced lifestyle and the majority of our customers buy it as part of the weekly family shop. However, alcohol misuse is harmful and its impact on health and society is a real problem. We know it is of concern to our customers and we take our responsibility as a retailer of alcohol seriously. Acting in conjunction with government, industry, health bodies and NGOs, we are committed to playing our part in tackling alcohol misuse and the sale of alcohol to minors.

Providing information


We were the first supermarket to introduce nutrition information for Energy (kcal/kJ) on all own-brand alcohol labels. We have now redesigned our labels so that all of our own brand lines now have on-pack unit information.

Tesco is the lead retail partner of Drinkaware and we provide a link to 'mydrinkaware' on our Wine Club website so our customers can find out more about healthy drinking levels, as well as using their logo in our magazines and on some signs in store.

Unit Reduction

As part of our commitment to responsible drinking we have pledged to play our part with the rest of the industry to reduce the number of alcoholic units sold each year. We have increased our range of low and mid strength beers, grown our offer of lower alcohol wines and reduced the ABV (alcohol by volume) of beer and cider where possible. We are the nation’s leading retailer of low alcohol products.

Where our customers express concerns about products, or where there is clear evidence that they are consumed harmfully, we remove them from sale. We do not sell high strength white ciders or Buckfast, for example.

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 ‘Challenge 25’ policy to help staff know when to ask for ID and refuse a sale where appropriate. We also use till prompts to alert staff to check for ID on alcoholic and low-alcoholic drinks. 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.



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, and working with local communities through Community Action Partnerships (CAPs).

As part of our Public Health Responsibility Deal pledges we committed, and continue to commit, to providing clear information on unit content, NHS guidelines and a warning about drinking when pregnant. We also support colleagues and customers through providing information on responsible drinking in-store, online and through Tesco magazines.

Working with communities

We understand the need to be responsible retailers in the communities we operate in. We play an active role in tackling problem underage drinking in local communities, particularly via CAPs. Through CAPs we work closely with local organisations and public bodies 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.

Minimum pricing

We are committed to engaging constructively in discussions with government on ways we can help tackle alcohol misuse, including minimum pricing. We do not sell alcohol below cost.

For more information contact our corporate responsibility team -