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Low and no-alcohol trend may be here to stay

Published:  15 July, 2016

According to the William Grant & Sons 2016 Market Report, the low-to-no alcohol trend is gaining momentum and alcohol producers will want to consider production of alternatives in their ranges to meet the growing demand.

Alcohol consumption is down 19% in volume since 2004 and part of this may be because of the growing trend of health-conscious consumers.

"Consumers are getting much, much more health conscious and it is something that is creeping up on the industry.  We have identified it as a trend in last year's market report, but it is definitely gaining momentum," said Gary Keogh, marketing director UK at William Grant & Sons.

Primarily, younger consumers are in growing numbers choosing to opt for more health conscious drinks. 

Keogh said: "Notably, what we are seeing is that drinkers under the age of 30, back in 2001, they were drinking the most, now they are drinking the least and a fifth of consumers are actually abstaining complete from alcohol in the UK."

The government's current war on sugar may also play a more prominent role in the future for all drinks companies and is something to be aware of. 

"The government's war on sugar has possibly motivated some of our competitors to voluntarily put nutritional information on packaging," speculated Keogh.

Keogh sites beer companies as being far more at the forefront of the 'health-conscious' trend.  

"It feels like to us that the beer companies are really far ahead of us. They have gluten-free lagers and have offered either low alcohol or no alcohol beers for a long, long time.  Also beer companies like InBev say that 20% of their sales by 2020 will be low-to-no alcohol," explained Keogh.

Both spirit companies and wine companies are getting behind the trend. Gallo just last month added another low-alcohol wine to its Spritz range which has an ABV of 5.5%. In the spirits category, Seedlip, a non-alcoholic spirit launched last year.

"We see the emergence of non-alcoholic spirit drinks in bars.  Some of these no-alcohol spirits are being sold at prices similarly to that of say a premium gin. One of our competitors recently acquired a stake in a non-alcoholic spirit drink. A sign that they see the potential in this area and definitely plays on the trend that consumers are going out and if they aren't drinking they still want something special," said Keogh.

With demand increasing in this part of the sector it is important for business to adapt. Keogh said: "This is something I think that will definitely gain momentum and not go away."