Alcoholic beverages with reduced alcohol content are in demand: Since Corona at the latest, people want to live more consciously and at the same time find joy in new tastes: The major developments in the food and beverage industry in the direction of conscious consumption are also bringing changes in the alcoholic beverages segment.
In summary, the trends in alcoholic beverages which accompany the Top Food & Beverage Trends 2022 can be described as follows: It will be lighter, more varied and more sustainable. Alcoholic drinks with a reduced alcohol content also want to provide refreshment. Alcoholic beverages that contain less alcohol and fewer calories are supposed to put less strain on the organism and at the same time bring new, fruity taste experiences. Especially during the - still lasting - pandemic, alcoholic beverages, which intensify the summer feeling, get a new meaning in the "staycation” or vacation closer to home. Ready to drink beverages with tropical flavours or flavours from other countries in general have not only been popular during the main holiday season since COVID-19 at the latest. After all, with drinks that remind you of vacation even at home you can easily escape everyday life for a short period of time.
Cocktails to-go has become the new product segment for retailers and restaurants since the initial restrictions. Market estimates predict that the global market for beverage cans will grow 2.3 times by 2031, and that the importance of beverage delivery and online retailing for beverages will also increase.
Consumers are especially looking for new (taste) experiences now: after all, the lockdowns and the many months at home have had an increased impact on the mind. "Consumers are now looking for playfulness and moments of happiness," writes Jenny Zegler of Mintel.
Source: "What the 2022 Consumer Trends mean for food and drink", Jenny Zegler, Mintel January 2022
The trend towards alcohol-reduced drinks is the driving factor par excellence - and the pandemic has once again accelerated the already existing trend. Sales of non-alcoholic drinks rose 33 per cent to $331 million in the last 52 weeks, according to Nielsen, and ISWR reports that the non-alcoholic spirits category is expected to grow 35 per cent by 2023.
Claims that communicate a health benefit in their own way compared to "conventional" alcoholic beverages are particularly popular when it comes to new product launches. These claims include "diet/light", "lower calories/calorie-free", "sugar-reduced", "sugar-free" and "low/no carb". According to Mintel, consumers are now consciously paying attention to such claims.
Source: "The Future of Beer and Cider 2022", Jenny Zegler, Mintel, March 2022
Above all, a strong immune system has become a priority for consumers worldwide since the pandemic:
According to FMCG Gurus, 70 percent of consumers said in 2020 that they had improved their diet in the last twelve months to boost their immune health - and out of these, 20 percent also reduced their alcohol consumption for this purpose. 66 percent of global consumers focus on reducing calories - which is particularly important for previously very sweet alcoholic ready to drink beverages and high-alcoholic beverages, which at the same time contain many calories.
Since consumers tend to drink less alcohol, beer and cider brands in particular will globally conquer supermarket shelves with reduced alcohol content in the future, as well as Hard Seltzer. For example, 43 percent of Spanish consumers say that they prefer to drink alcohol reduced or even non-alcoholic beer.
According to Mintel, companies especially in beer and cider production now have new opportunities if they invest in innovative flavours, organic ingredients and lighter recipes.
Premium products and complex flavours in particular are expected to generate sales growth in the hard seltzer segment. Great potential is predicted for smoky flavours but also for fresh twists on traditional flavours. Innovative flavours such as blood orange-chilli or cranberry elderflower are expected to provide real taste explosions.
It is important to disrupt the temporary monotony at home with taste and visual surprises and not to impair general wellbeing as much as possible.
For example, a non-alcoholic beer with Reishi mushrooms was launched in the UK, a Belgian label launched a low calorie and low carb beer, that correspond to the trend of protein beer. Some breweries jumped on the big top trend of mixing alcoholic beverages with tea and created a mix made from beer with a high quality tea. AUSTRIA JUICE also catched up this trend and has developed innovative beer mix drinks with green tea & lemon, mate tea or even protein beer for innovative breweries.
In addition to various types of tea, the flavours apple, tropical fruits, citrus fruits and berries are currently leading the global beer and cider launches.
Currently, botanicals, like beers with salve or thyme are also of major interest looking at the hit list of ingredients for beer drinks. As you have probably already recognized, the following also applies to alcoholic beverages in 2022: If you want to attract the attention of consumers, you have to come up with something special - and you can take some bold decisions. There are no limits to creativity - especially when the young and adventure-hungry target group should be reached and impressed. Fruit seccos and fruit wine-based cocktails with refreshing flavours and combinations are also perfect for this - regardless of whether they are alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
The category of hard ice teas, which are increasingly promoted via social media, is very popular among the Millenial generation. Iced tea with alcohol is a fast-growing segment. According to the IWSR, the consumption of hard ice tea has increased by 26% in 2020 and will even double by 2024. The classic flavours of lemon and peach currently dominate the shelves. AUSTRIA JUICE also offers hard ice teas that are based on alcoholic fruit wines with approx. 5 % alcohol content in its portfolio of alcoholic beverages.
In addition to personal enjoyment, the ecological aspect of the production and packaging of beverages is increasingly becoming a focus point. For example, 69 percent of UK consumers say they prefer environmentally friendly beer. Another example, a German brewery had produced a 100 percent climate-neutral beer, which it also clearly communicated on the label. One brewery in the UK goes even further by promoting the “first carbon negative beer”.
42 per cent of Polish consumers say that the protection of nature plays an important role for them in decisions regarding the purchase of beverages and food. 43 per cent of Mexicans say that supporting agriculture is important to them when making purchasing decisions and 62 per cent of consumers in China attach great importance to the protection of water resources in food and beverage production.
For premium products in the alcohol segment, the majority also expect the sustainability factor to be present: 82 percent in Spain, 80 percent in Italy, 75 percent in France, 71 percent in Poland and 58 percent in Germany.
Source: "The Future of Beer and Cider 2022", Jenny Zegler, Mintel, March 2022
Those who rely not only on natural, plant based ingredients but also on environmentally friendly packaging for alcoholic beverages will be favoured by conscious consumers and win their hearts. Packaging is increasingly moving into the focus of consumers: For 72 percent of consumers in Italy and Spain, the topic of waste by packaging increased in the past year. 71 percent of beer drinkers in the UK believe that it is crucial for beer brands to use environmentally friendly packaging and 47 percent of this consumer group are in favour of refillable beer bottles. Anyone who clearly communicates the benefits for environmental protection on the pack can score points!
Transparency may also be capitalised on labels: According to Mintel, 29 percent of Brazilian consumers would scan a QR code with more detailed product information. 48 per cent of UK consumers say they are buying more regional (British) products since the pandemic and 88 per cent of US consumers think it is important to find nutritional information such as the number of calories or sugar content on labels.
Source: "What the 2022 Consumer Trends mean for food and drink", Jenny Zegler, Mintel, January 2022
In the area of spirits, the demand for high-quality and innovative products is increasing significantly.
While classic vodka has always enjoyed great popularity, in the future it will increasingly be presented in reduced-calorie versions but also highlighted with unusual flavours such as yuzu or kumquat. A number of new, innovative flavours can also be expected with whiskey. Here, innovation is a recipe for success, too: 28 percent of consumers state that they are willing to pay more for spirits with unique ingredients. The thirst for adventure in terms of taste seems to have a real impact in this category. New cocktail launches that promote fruit and vegetable juices in combination with alcohol are also particularly surprising.
Alcoholic beverages are becoming increasingly popular in the form of non-alcoholic or low-alcohol variants. In addition, low-calorie products are also increasingly on the shopping lists of global consumers. Innovative flavours that offer taste experiences, have been highly popular in alcohol-reduced flavoured beer, but also in Hard Seltzer products since Corona: People are looking for compensation for missing travel and leisure experiences outside their own homes. In particular, consumers are becoming more aware: Non-alcoholic as well as alcoholic beverages should not only support a mindful lifestyle, but also the idea of sustainability. Responsible production is becoming just as much a purchasing argument as environmentally friendly and sustainable packaging, which consumers expect as standard, especially for premium products.
„What the 2022 Consumer Trends mean for food and drink”, Jenny Zegler, Mintel, January 2022
“The Future of Beer and Cider 2022”, Jenny Zegler, Mintel, March 2022
„Beverage Trends – The latest trends and product highlights in juices, beer and carbonated soft drinks“, Dora Szarvasi, Mintel 2019)
Director of Marketing & Communication