The headline could sound like the introduction to a Kiwi joke, but it’s not – it’s research from across the ditch that would probably be replicated if conducted here. It’s worth a reminder.
As always, drink less, drink better, drinking for flavour and not effect.
Two-thirds of Kiwis don’t understand the ‘standard drink’
New research shows we don’t know how much we’re pouring, drinking
Research commissioned by consumer information programme Cheers! shows that New Zealanders have inadequate knowledge of standard drinks.
Sixty-one per cent of research participants did not know why a standard drink is an important measure, and as a group could not correctly identify a standard drink from a range of options 38 per cent of the time. Adult binge drinkers and parents of teenagers achieved the worst results, while women under 30 fared the best.
The standard drink mark is carried on all alcohol packaging and is designed to inform consumers about how many standard drinks are contained in the vessel. A standard drink contains 10g of pure alcohol, which is the amount of alcohol the average person can process in one hour.
“The simple fact is that if you don’t know how much you’re pouring then you don’t know how much you’re drinking,” says Cheers! Programme Director Jessica Venning-Bryan.
“And if you don’t know how your body processes alcohol—that each drink takes an hour to metabolise, and its effects are cumulative—then you’re not in the best position to make good choices, that will keep you safe and social, when you’re drinking.”
While the data is concerning, Venning-Bryan says it also presents an opportunity to help people become more drink aware. In response to the challenge highlighted in the research, today Cheers! is launching a range of glassware on which a standard drink is clearly marked at a range of strengths. Sets of glassware are available free of charge at Cheers.org.nz.
“We wanted to do something genuinely useful to help people improve their knowledge of standard drinks, and enable them to make better choices as a result,” says Venning-Bryan.
Notes to editors
Topline results from the research are as follows:
- 10 per cent of New Zealanders have not heard of the term ‘standard drink’.
- Only 39 per cent of New Zealanders know, when prompted, that a standard drink is the amount of alcohol an average person can process in one hour.
- The drinks most commonly underestimated as a standard drink are:
- A bottle of 5% beer. 55 percent say this is less than or equal to a standard drink. It is in fact 1.3 standard drinks.
- A large glass of wine. 31 percent say that this is less than or equal to a standard drink. It is in fact 1.5 standard drinks.
- A 335 ml bottle of an 8% RTD. 27 percent say that this is less than or equal to a standard drink. It is in fact 2.1 standard drinks.