We are taking a theory-based approach to the evaluation of minimum unit pricing (MUP). 

Our theory of change is currently available as a separate document.

There are currently 12 studies funded through our work. We refer to these as the MESAS-funded studies because they are part of our work Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS)

There are four outcome areas

  • Implementation and compliance
  • Alcohol market
  • Consumption
  • Health and social harms. 

Many studies contribute to more than one outcome area and each outcome area will be evidenced by a number of studies. These studies are listed below.  

  1. Compliance
    (Implementation and compliance)
  2. Economic impact on the alcoholic drinks industry
    (Alcohol market)
  3. Small convenience stores
    (Alcohol market)
  4. Alcohol price distribution
    (Implementation and compliance, Alcohol market)
  5. Alcohol products and prices
    (Alcohol market)
  6. Sales based consumption
    (Alcohol market, Consumption)
  7. Drinking at harmful levels
    (Implementation and compliance, Consumption, Health and social harms)
  8. Children and young people: Own drinking and related behaviour
    (Implementation and compliance, Consumption, Health and social harms)
  9. Hospital admissions and deaths
    (Health and social harms)
  10. Crime, public safety and public nuisance
    (Health and social harms)
  11. Children and young people: Harm from others
    (Health and social harms)
  12. Public attitudes to MUP
    (Implementation and compliance)

You can find information on each outcome area and the MESAS-funded studies below.

This outcome area will assess whether MUP is complied with and any barriers or facilitators to compliance. We also hope to assess changes in the public’s attitude to MUP.

There are three studies contributing to this outcome area.

1. Compliance (Licensing)

We have assessed compliance with MUP through the perspectives and experiences of practitioners working in inspection and enforcement.  You will find more information on this study on the Compliance page.

We will also look at any published data on compliance and national licensing statistics when they become available.

4. Alcohol price distribution

We will assess the impact of MUP on the volume of alcohol sold in the Scottish off-trade at different prices. We will buy weekly data on this from Nielsen, a market research company. We will compare changes in Scotland to England and Wales, where MUP has not been introduced.  We will report in late 2020

This study will also contribute to the Alcohol market outcome area.

12. Public attitudes to MUP

This will assess the public’s attitudes to MUP before and after implementation. We hope to commission ScotCen to repeat a set of questions assessing the public’s attitudes to MUP in a survey. We will use data collected from their previous surveys as a comparison. If the survey goes ahead we will publish the findings in mid 2020.

This outcome area will assess how the alcohol industry responds to MUP and the economic impact of it on the alcohol industry in Scotland.

There are five studies contributing to this outcome area.

2. Economic impact on the alcoholic drinks industry

We have commissioned Frontier Economics to assess the economic impact of MUP across the alcoholic drinks industry in Scotland.

They are doing this by analysing routine data and carrying out case studies and interviews with key stakeholders.  

They are also interviewing retailers on either side of the Scotland-England border to explore whether they think people are going to England to buy alcohol.  

The study will report in late 2019 and again in late 2022.

You will find more information on this study on the Economic impact page.

3. Small convenience stores

We have commissioned The University of Stirling to assess the impact of MUP on the price, product range and promotion of alcohol sold in small convenience stores in Scotland. This will include exploring small retailer’s experience of MUP and its impact on their store. The study will report in early 2020.

5. Alcohol products and prices

We will assess how the price, strength and range of alcohol products sold changes as a result of MUP. We will buy weekly data on products, price and volume sold through retailers from Nielsen, a market research company. We will also buy data on the products (including alcohol strength), price and volume sold through wholesalers. We will compare changes in Scotland with England and Wales, where MUP has not be introduced. We will report late 2021.

4. Alcohol price distribution

We will assess the impact of MUP on the volume of alcohol sold in the Scottish off-trade at different prices. We will buy weekly data on this from Nielsen, a market research company. We will compare changes in Scotland with England and Wales, where MUP has not been introduced. We will report in late 2020.

This study will also contribute to the implementation and compliance outcome area.

6. Sales based consumption

We will assess the impact of MUP on the volume of pure alcohol sold in the off-trade in Scotland, overall and by drink type. We will compare changes in Scotland with England and Wales, where MUP has not been introduced. Alcohol sales data will be bought from both Nielsen and CGA, market research companies. We will report in late 2019 and mid 2022.

This study will also contribute to the alcohol consumption outcome area.

This outcome area will assess the impact of MUP on alcohol consumption in Scotland, including where people get their alcohol from. It will also assess if changes in consumption differ by age, sex, deprivation and pattern of drinking.

There are three studies contributing to this outcome area.

6. Sales-based consumption

We will assess the impact of MUP on the volume of pure alcohol sold in the off-trade in Scotland, overall and by drink type. We will compare changes in Scotland with England and Wales, where MUP has not been introduced. Alcohol sales data will be bought from both Nielsen and CGA, market research companies.  We will report in late 2019 and mid 2022.

This study will also contribute to the alcohol market outcome area.

7. Drinking at harmful levels

We have commissioned The University of Sheffield and Figure 8 Consulting to assess the impact of MUP on those drinking at harmful levels, considering the impact on consumption and drinking behaviour, substitution with other substances, health, crime and children and families. They will gather information from people who drink at harmful levels and those working in alcohol treatment services. They will also use Kantar World panel Alcovision survey to assess how the amount and pattern of alcohol consumed by moderate, hazardous and harmful drinkers changes as a result of MUP. It will also compare the changes in Scotland to those in England. The researchers will report in mid 2020 and mid 2021.

This study will also contribute to the health and social harms outcome area and may also provide some evidence on compliance.

8. Children and young people: Own drinking and related behaviour

We have commissioned Iconic Consulting to assess the impact of MUP on children and young people's own drinking and related behaviour. They will undertake focus groups and interviews to gather information from under 18's and those working with children and young people.  The researchers will report in late 2019.

This study will also contribute to the health and social harms outcome area, and may also provide some evidence on compliance.

We will also assess survey data collected through the Scottish Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey and the Scottish Health Survey.

This outcome area will assess changes in a number of alcohol harms as a result of MUP. This includes alcohol-related hospital admissions and deaths; harms to children and young people; alcohol-related crime and disorder; and unintended harms such as increased consumption of other harmful substances.

There are five studies contributing to this outcome area.

9. Hospital admissions and deaths

We will assess the impact of MUP on hospital admissions and deaths due to alcohol, by studying changes over time. We will report early 2023.

10. Crime, public safety and public nuisance

We will commission a study to assess the impact of MUP on crime, public safety and public nuisance in Scotland.  We expect it will analyse information that is routinely collected.  We will update the website when the study is commissioned.

Information collected through the harmful drinkers (as victims and perpetrators), small retailers and children and young people studies may also provide information that is relevant to these outcomes.

7. Drinking at harmful levels

We have commissioned The University of Sheffield and Figure 8 Consulting have been commissioned to assess the impact of MUP on those drinking at harmful levels, considering the impact on consumption and drinking behaviour, substitution with other substances, health, crime and children and families. They will gather information from people who drink at harmful levels and those working in alcohol treatment services. The researchers study will report in mid 2020 and mid 2021.

This study will also contribute to the alcohol consumption outcome area, and may also provide some evidence on compliance.

8. Children and young people: Own drinking and related behaviour

We have commissioned Iconic Consulting to assess the impact of MUP on children and young people’s own drinking and related behaviour. They will undertake focus groups and interviews to gather information from under 18’s and those working with children and young people. The researchers will report in late 2019.

This study will also contribute to the alcohol consumption outcome area, and may also provide evidence on compliance.

We will also assess survey data collected through the Scottish Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey and the Scottish Health Survey.

11. Children and young people: Harm from others

We are conducting focus groups with practitioners working with children and families to explore the impact of MUP on children and young people affected by harmful parental or carer alcohol consumption. We are using qualitative data from practitioners and other routinely collected data. We will report in late 2019.

Contact us

You can contact us to find out more about the evaluation plan and the studies within it.