Alcohol: Hangovers, Headaches and Health

Thursday 25th February 2016 – 08:30-09:30

Happenstance, 1a Ludgate Hill, London EC4M 7AA

Our second Trends Breakfast of 2016 will tackle the topical issue of alcohol consumption in the UK, and explore the debate that has been stirred (not shaken) by the recently revised alcohol consumption guidelines that recommend men and women stick to no more than 14 units a week.

For some, these stricter guidelines are a welcome sign of progress in the fight against binge drinking, anti social behaviour, crime and the pressure that over-indulgence can place on tight budgets in health, social care and police services. They may also be a new and significant move towards greater regulation of alcohol and health generally, with calls for a sugar tax echoing the well established campaign for minimum unit pricing.

But for others, these new regulations are a worrying step in the wrong direction. Alcohol consumption in the UK is falling, with young men – for years the poster boys of Booze Britain – now more likely to drink nothing than to drink to excess. Elsewhere many argue that the benefits of moderate consumption are being overlooked in the drive to be a healthier nation.

The aim of the breakfast will not be to determine which side of the medical argument is right. Rather, we will look at the wider implications of the decision and what we can learn from the reactions of consumers and other stakeholders so far.

The complexity of the debate is reflected in the responses of UK consumers, with a multitude of responses garnering widespread support. According of Trajectory Global Foresight, in 2015:

• 55% of British adults thought individuals should be encouraged to eat and drink more healthily through public health campaigns
• 35% thought companies producing unhealthy food and drink should pay higher taxes
• 42% thought that the advertising of unhealthy food and drink should be more tightly regulated
• 35% thought that ultimately, we should be allowed to eat whatever we want

Away from health, the issue of alcohol consumption has significant implications for our relationship with leisure, British culture and traditions, recipients of public services in austere times and the future of the night time economy.

These issues and many more will be explored at what is sure to be a fascinating and thought provoking hour of insight and debate. To book your place at this breakfast with a twist please email Isabelle (isabelle@trajectorypartnership.com).