Press Centre

Asda to challenge age with new alcohol initiatives

ASDA has become the first retailer in Scotland to launch ‘Challenge 25’, a new proof of age scheme aimed to further assist and empower colleagues when asking for ID on sales of alcohol.

The launch of this scheme follows alarming results from research which ASDA commissioned within Glasgow and London to find out how much older than their age a 16 year old can actually look.

A group of 16 year olds were taken onto the City streets and shoppers were asked to guess their age. 71% of respondents said the 16 year olds were actually aged 18 years and over and 23% even said they were over 21 years of age.

The research also revealed that there is confusion about the legal age for drinking. 15% of those questioned think it is higher than 18 years of age, whilst 13% believe the legal age is 21.

Andy Clarke, Retail Director at ASDA comments: “At ASDA we have the best AMEC test purchasing in the industry, so for us this initiative isn’t about addressing an issue of underage sales. Rather it is about giving colleagues even more tools when dealing with the tricky problem of IDing those that are not entitled to buy alcohol. A mistake on guessing someone’s age could mean a hefty fine and a criminal record. Challenge 21 helped make asking for ID in our stores less of a taboo but our research now highlights the need to go one step further in a bid to help protect our colleagues.

Importantly, we also want to use this trial to call on other retailers to undertake their own trial as it’s only when we act as a united industry that we can really make a difference to the impacts of underage drinking.” Aware that carrying ID has not yet been fully ingrained on the British culture, ASDA has been busy raising awareness of the scheme with customers through in-store signage and a leaflet campaign.

Louise Macdonald, Communications Director at Young Scot praised the initiative: “Any activity which promotes awareness and understanding about the issues around the sale of restricted goods such as alcohol is to be welcomed. By working in partnership with retailers, consumers and agencies such as Young Scot, we can tackle these issues in a positive way for young people, and get to a point where asking for ID is no longer seen as an affront. We look forward to seeing the results of this trial by ASDA.”

Andy concludes: “For many this trial will require them to permanently carry ID. However we are confident that all of our customers, who are lucky enough to look under 25, will understand the importance of this campaign, just as they did when we launched Challenge 21. What we want to see though is a culture in the UK, where being asked for, and showing ID isn’t an issue. It’s just responsible retailing.”

The initiative will be trialled at ten stores across Scotland; Edinburgh Chesser, Falkirk, Grangemouth, Kirkcaldy, Alloa, Coatbridge, Cumbernauld, Dunfermline, Galashiels and St Leonards.

Acceptable forms of proof are: photo card, driving license, passport or PASS accredited proof of age card.

ASDA will be sharing the details of their trial at the next Scottish Retail Consortium Meeting on 15th May in an attempt to encourage other retailers to adopt similar schemes.

Posted in Press Centre on 27 April 2007