Consumer awareness and understanding of alcohol pregnancy warning labels

This research report outlines the findings of an online survey of consumers to assess the effectiveness of the current voluntary pregnancy warnings on alcohol containers. Undertaken in June 2016, the survey focused on awareness and recall of labels, understanding the message of labels and impact on behaviours.

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Commissioning agencies
Date of last publication
28 Oct 2016


The purpose of the research is to assess the effectiveness of the current alcohol pregnancy warning labelling scheme, focusing on:

  •  Recall and awareness of the labelling on alcohol products by consumers

               o How many people are aware or recall a label unprompted

               o How many people are aware or recall a label when prompted

  •  Reading and comprehension, or what consumers understand from current pregnancy warning labels

               o Does the current label (text versus pictogram) convey the message ‘Don’t drink if you are pregnant’?

               o Is the pictogram compared to text better or worse at conveying this message?

               o Has the label had any effect on raising awareness, prompting conversations, changing behaviour?


An online survey of 1,488 consumers was carried out from 7-29 June, 2016. The total sample includes 387 women aged 18-34 years (‘young women’) and 388 women with children under 15 years (‘women with children’). From a recent survey of alcohol producers in New Zealand, the most commonly used pregnancy warning labels were the ‘pregnant lady’ pictogram and the DrinkWise text (‘It is safest not to drink while pregnant’).1 An alternative text (‘Don’t drink pregnant’) was also tested.

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