Increasing numbers of consumers prefer low-alcohol beverages due to health and well-being motives.
Health has become big business and according to recent figures the global value of the well-being market is almost $4.5 trillion. No- and low-alcohol drinks make up a burgeoning section of this accelerating market. In fact, it is estimated that by 2024 the sector will undergo faster growth than that of wine or beer, recording annual growth of 20.6%.
Consumer awareness factor
Over recent years, the trend has been towards more informed consumption.
Awareness of why, what and how much we drink is a cultural movement that has seen an uptick over the last ten years.
Even if consumers pay more attention today, the choice is not as broad as the traditional spirits offering. There is still a huge gulf between offering and demand. For this reason, more options and choice are needed, demonstrating that there’s still a long way to go in this niche market.
Demand for no- or low-alcohol products has grown in the last twelve months, mostly due to the increase in well-being macro-trends.
During the various lockdowns, we have all paid more attention to our health through a more balanced diet and physical exercise either at home or outdoors. Consequently, we have become more aware of our choices and our alcohol consumption.
It’s not by chance that the boom in this sector has happened over the last year. And since many brands in the sector are relatively small, therefore more flexible, they have been able to respond to consumers through e-commerce and create digital strategies to develop their own profiles.
Big brands muscle in
The category has been further strengthened by well-established names that have launched low alcohol content spin-offs, such as Beefeater Light and Ballantine Light from Pernod Ricard, which are currently being tested in the Spanish market. Martini has also entered the space with a 0% ABV, introducing Vibrante and Floreal last March to great success.
This has sparked the current unexpected chain reaction. People are constantly looking for more low-alcohol choices and companies are doing everything they can to pioneer innovative products that will respond to this demand. This in turn triggers more interest and demand from consumers.
The United Kingdom is a very specific market for the low- and no-alcohol market. Innovation has always been central to the beverage sector in the UK, so people are inquisitive and tend to enthusiastically try out new products. So, it’s no surprise that MeMento launched its RTD offering in the UK and Italy, created in collaboration with Nio Cocktails. This has brought the concept of low-alcohol mixology into the home and has shown people that exceptional cocktails don’t necessarily need alcohol.
Looking to the future, various brands maintain that low- and no-alcohol products still need more approval as a category in itself to shake off the image of being just a no-alcohol version of a spirit. This is mainly due to consumers expecting them to have the same flavour as their sister alcoholic product and being able to enjoy them for what they are – complex blends to enjoy on their own or in a stunning cocktail. A real revolution that will – most likely – completely reshape the beverage industry in the near future.