Implementation of alcohol minimum unit pricing (MUP): a qualitative study with small retailers



Stead M, Eadie D, Purves RI, McKell J, Critchlow N, Angus K, Angus C & Fitzgerald N (2022) Implementation of alcohol minimum unit pricing (MUP): a qualitative study with small retailers. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy.

Minimum unit pricing for alcohol (MUP) came into effect on 1st May 2018 in Scotland, raising the price of the cheapest shop-bought alcohol. Small retailers are a key source of alcohol for communities, often located in areas of high alcohol-related harm. We sought to examine their experiences of MUP implementation and impact. We conducted semi-structured interviews in-store with 20 small retailers in central Scotland at two time points: October – November 2017 (6–7 months pre-implementation); and October – November 2018 (5–6 months post-implementation). Prior to implementation, some retailers did not understand MUP, including how prices would link to product strength, or were concerned about anticipated implementation burden. Several expressed support for reducing ‘problem’ drinking or suggested that MUP would increase alcohol prices in supermarkets bringing them into line with small retailers. Despite initial concerns, small retailers reported minimal disruption following implementation of MUP, which was generally straightforward. Compliance was taken seriously and price calculations relatively manageable. Few/no negative reactions from customers were reported. Some felt that the measure enabled them to better compete with larger retailers/supermarkets. Concerns about MUP expressed by some trade bodies prior to implementation were largely not borne out in the experiences of small retailers

alcohol policy; retail; policy implementation; pricing; public health; qualitative research; interviews; Scotland

Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online

Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy

StatusIn Press
FundersNHS Health Scotland
Publication date online15/05/2022
Date accepted by journal03/05/2022
PublisherInforma UK Limited

People (5)


Ms Kathryn Angus
Ms Kathryn Angus

Research Officer, Institute for Social Marketing

Dr Nathan Critchlow
Dr Nathan Critchlow

Research Fellow, Institute for Social Marketing

Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Professor Niamh Fitzgerald

Professor, Institute for Social Marketing

Miss Jennifer McKell
Miss Jennifer McKell

Research Fellow 1, Institute for Social Marketing

Dr Richard Purves
Dr Richard Purves

Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Social Marketing

Projects (1)