The HOB-Vín Judgment: A Failed Attempt to Standardise the Visual Imagery, Packaging and Appeal of Alcohol Products


European Journal of Risk Regulation

2013, vol. 4, n°1

Departments: Tax & Law, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: Consumer law, Consumer information, Health claims, Food Law, Attractiveness, Labelling, Lifestyle regulation, Proportionality, Health law, International economic law

At a time in which an increasing number of countries attempt to reduce the attractiveness of the packaging of unhealthy products, such as tobacco and food, the EFTA Court was asked to determine the legality of a set of measures aimed at standardizing the visual imagery, packaging and appeal of alcohol products. While regulations prohibiting misleading packaging practices existed for decades in order to limit (economic) fraud, the focus of the regulatory interventions on packaging practices is now shifting to another policy goal: that of limiting consumption of those products that ' due to their constituents ' are increasingly perceived as unhealthy. Interestingly enough, this phenomenon ' as demonstrated by this judgment ' is not limited to the area of tobacco, but extends to alcohol and unhealthy products as well. This article provides an in-depth and critical analysis of the judgment delivered by the EFTA Court by contextualizing it within the broader framework of marketing restrictions under EEA and EU law