BHETA consults on Challenge 25

Following a workshop on responsible knife retailing hosted by British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) on May 15, the trade body has met the Retail of Alcohol Standards Group (RASG) with a view to securing approval to adopt its Challenge 25 scheme.

The workshop was an initiative agreed with members following an initial consultation on March 25. The agenda covered product design, packaging and merchandising, point of sale and checkout procedure, consumer education and lobbying.

Retail attendees included John Lewis, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Dunelm, Steamer Trading, TK Maxx, Elys of Wimbledon and Harts of Stur. They joined representatives from Bira (British Independent Retailers Association) and knife suppliers including Taylor’s Eye Witness, Amefa, Fiskars, Meyer, Haus, Burton McCall, Kuhn Rikon and Robert Welch Designs.

Challenge 25 is a scheme that encourages anyone who is over 18 but looks under 25 to carry acceptable ID such as a card bearing the PASS (the government-backed Proof of Age Standards Scheme) hologram, a photocard driving licence or a passport) when they want to buy alcohol. It builds on the Challenge 21 campaign introduced by the British Beer and Pub Association in 2005, which represents the beer and pub sector. It is now run by RASG, which represents alcohol retailers.

BETA said: ‘This retailing strategy has proved successful both in terms of awareness among young people and as an aid to retail staff involved in the sale of age-sensitive products.’

BHETA chief operating officer Will Jones commented: “With the personal consequences of illegal sales for shop staff becoming more severe – and more widely applicable, as we have seen with the retail of kitchen knives – it’s vital that retailers get every assistance in their area of responsibility.

“One of the areas of consensus at our workshop was that a standardised system of knife labelling, which could be adopted universally by suppliers, could be of help to retailers. We therefore approached RASG to investigate the potential for using the existing Challenge 25 concept.”

RASG has developed a suite of designs, from posters to shelf barkers and badges, to reinforce the message throughout the sales environment. The signage in red and black makes it clear that under 25s must now expect to be challenged to prove their age. It also spells out the heavy fines which could follow for those caught breaking the law.

Will concluded: “We hope to be announcing an equivalent to Challenge 25 for the kitchen knife sector very soon.”

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