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Low alcohol drinks are in trend

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Drinking alcohol in lighter versions is “in”: consumers all over the world tend to prefer less alcohol in their beverages. How you can implement this trend for your products.

alcohol reduced drinks1
Living consciously and drinking alcohol - that doesn't fit well. Mainly due to the increasing value of "health", more and more people are reducing their alcohol consumption. The motto is: less is more!
This development is also being driven by government initiatives and campaigns, such as those in the UK, which are committed to reducing the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

The effects of Sussex University's “Dry January Campaign” also attracted the interest of health-conscious millennials and Generation Y in particular, and prompted many people to drink less alcohol in the future.

Sources: Attitudes towards low and non-alcoholic drinks, UK, Mintel, August 2019
https://movendi.ngo/blog/2020/02/21/global-alcohol-trends-of-2019/

In the UK, for example, 46 percent of people under the age of 35 prefer a mocktail over a cocktail, compared to only 16 percent of those over the age of 35. A third of the 16 to 35 year olds say they don't drink alcohol at all.

Source: Beverage Daily, BMC Public Health 18, Article number: 1090 (2018)

Instead of the obligatory glass of wine, Matcha tea or water is preferred, and where a cocktail once made for a good mood, a homemade lemonade made from fresh fruits and herbs is now on the top.

Not quite like that - because it doesn't always have to be water instead of wine or lemonade instead of a cocktail: If you don't want to do without the taste of classic alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine or spirits and the associated feeling, you can now simply use the low or non-alcoholic version of these drinks.

In Germany by 2022 the market in the low or non- alcoholic category is expected to grow. More specifically by 14.4 percent for spirits, 13.3 percent for ready to drink, 11.4 percent for cider, 4 percent for wine and 1.6 percent for beer.

Source: International Wine and Spirits Report
Grafik1_low alcohol drinks_EN

When socializing and relaxing at home

Rethinking of companies makes sense, because the reasons for drinking alcoholic drinks are very different - and the taste and the emotional connection to certain events play an important role: In the UK, for example, beer is typically used for social gatherings or sports and leisure events and wine is associated with a good meal or relaxing at home. Most spirits like vodka or whiskey are associated with a nightclub.

Source: Alcoholic Drinks Review, UK, Mintel, February 2019

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In the United States, most consumers choose alcoholic drinks to relax (70 percent) followed by taste reasons (50 percent). 44 percent drink alcoholic drinks for fun and 40 percent use the wine bottle as a reward.

In fact, however, alcohol consumption has also decreased significantly in numbers: For example, 21 percent of US consumers state that they drink less often than last year.

Source: "Alcoholic Beverage Drinking Occasions", US, Mintel, September 2019

According to Mintel, 47 percent of those over the age of 18 in the UK who reduced their alcohol consumption in the past year cited their health as the main reason, followed by a desired weight loss of 28 percent and the plan to save money (34 percent). In addition, 25 percent want to reduce the risk of illness and 23 percent want to avoid a hangover.

Source: Lightspeed / Mintel
Grafik2_low alcohol drinks_EN

"Low volume wine" is on the rise

The beverage industry has responded to "low alcohol": Mintel reports, among other things, that manufacturers of classic grape wines worldwide are striving to produce more wines with less alcohol - namely with a share of 5 to 9.5 percent. The trend towards low alcohol drinks should also lead to younger Europeans preferring fewer, but better quality products, and those who have been drinking alcohol for relaxation reasons will increasingly use low alcohol or non-alcoholic alternatives in the future, according to the Experts.

Source: "Flavor Focus: Alcoholic Beverages", Regina Haydon, Mintel, May 2018

This development in the "wine" segment also opens up an expanded market potential for fruit wines and fruit seccos: These fruity alternatives to grape wine are not made from grapes, but from other fruits or berries and score with less alcohol by volume. Especially in the segment of non-alcoholic Seccos, be it grapes or fruit, it is hoped that market shares will grow in hot summers.

Beer and spirits also reduce percentages

Something similar is happening in the beer sector: leading breweries worldwide have started to offer beers below 0.5% ABV. It is crucial that these low-alcohol beers are often offered by established brands: they score with an advance in trust for product quality. Low alcohol has also caught the attention of craft beer producers who specialize in low-alcohol beers.

In the UK it can be seen that leading beer labels also occupy the top position in the low-alcohol or non-alcoholic warehouse, and the light beer variants of those established brands have grown significantly since they entered the market. Alcohol-free beer in the UK still accounts for less than five percent of the market share, but 52 percent of consumers state that acceptance has increased noticeably over the past two years.reduced alcohol drinks3Sources: Attitudes towards low and non-alcoholic drinks, UK, Mintel, August 2019
https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2019/10/5-low-and-no-alcohol-drinks-trends-to-watch-in-2020/

When it comes to alcohol-free spirits, it is above all the perfect composition of flavours and extracts that creates the taste: Imitations of whiskey, gin, vodka or rum can also be enjoyed without a percentage.

Alcohol is a strong flavour carrier and this has to be compensated in the alcohol-free spirit alternatives. Different flavours and essences are used here, which recreate the well-known taste profiles of the alcoholic variants in the perfect mixture. “Whiskey” uses, for example, caramel, vanilla or oak flavour, gin sometimes includes juniper berries, coriander and lavender and the taste of rum is imitated, for example, with cloves, grapefruit and oak wood flavours.
The manufacturing process works like the "cold compounding" process, in which spirits blends are produced. The only difference: the essences are either produced completely without alcohol or the alcohol is withdrawn beforehand. Cheers!

Source: https://mixology.eu/en/alcohol-free-spirits-a-sober-trend-takes-flight/

CONCLUSION:

Nowadays consumers consciously take care of their health and still don't want to dispense with a good taste. Low and non-alcoholic versions of wine, beer and spirits serve the new needs for a conscious lifestyle and are therefore in greater demand. For manufacturers of wine, beer, spirits and RTD drinks in particular, this is now an opportunity to refresh the market with light products.

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Maren Döbl

Maren DöblAuthor

Product Manager

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