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Mystery Shopper: Preventing Underage Drinking in Mexico

Diageo Mexico has been running isolated programmes to prevent the misuse of alcohol since 2011. Recognising that a person’s environment plays a major role in influencing their drinking patterns, the team developed a systemic approach, partnering with the Querétaro state government, to create the ‘Model Cities’ campaign to prevent harmful drinking.

Case study

Protecting minors is key to preventing the harmful drinking and preventing underage drinking therefore became a focal pillar of Model Cities. As part of the programme, Diageo Mexico, together with its partners, rolled out alcohol education trainings to prevent the sale of alcohol to people below the legal purchasing age.

Following the training, a ‘Mystery Shopper’ evaluation check to monitor retail outlets’ age verification efforts was implemented. About 700 people in the hospitality industry and over 2,000 employees in 360 retail shops were trained. The pilot programme took place in Querétaro between Feb 2013 and September 2014 and the Mystery Shopper evaluation showed a 48% increase in the number of stores that refused to sell to minors. There was also a 39% rise in the number of stores that asked for IDs before sales to suspected minors.

The insights from Queretaro were extended to Mexico City in 2017. Partnering with the largest retail outlet in Mexico, the team trained 3,997 employees from more than 400 outlets. After six months of monitoring, 100% of retail outlets that were trained, refused to sell to minors up from the initial 51.02%, after 6 months of monitoring.

Among the communities that were not directly trained 81% of them refused to sell to minors up from the initial 61.2% who were being compliant. Comparatively, the training had made a difference between these two communities.

Moving forward, Diageo Mexico is looking to launch an on-line version of training for servers of alcohol in order to gain great scale. It is our ultimate aim to make the Age verification programme a national campaign reaching as many outlets as possible.