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Low and no on-trade sales soar by nearly 50%

Published:  02 December, 2019

Sales of no- and low-alcohol drinks in the on-trade have risen nearly 50% in the last year, according to a new report from food-and-drink sector analysts CGA.

The category is now worth over £60m, up 48% in the last 12 months, the report – titled ‘Understanding Moderation in the On-Trade’ – reveals.

Growth in the category is being driven by completely alcohol-free offers, which are up nearly 80%. ‘Mocktails’ or ‘virgin cocktails’ are proving particularly popular.

The report also shows the potential for growth in the sector. As many as 32% of drinkers have tried a no- or low-alcohol beverage in the last six months, with a further 18.4% – equating to some 8.9 million consumers – reporting that they are attracted to the category.

However, growth is being driven by consumers looking to moderate their alcohol consumption, not stopping drinking alcohol altogether. Only 9% of those who drink no- and low-alcohol beverages consider themselves to be teetotal.

Charlie Mitchell, senior consumer research manager at CGA, said: “Our report shows there is huge potential for operators and suppliers to capitalise on the growing number of moderators. With even more people likely to cut back on booze after the Christmas excesses, producers, operators and suppliers are queuing up to jump on the opportunity with an ever-increasing range of no- and low- alcohol alternatives.

“With many consumers eager to trial them out of curiosity, along with the evident health drivers associated, the challenge will be to build loyalty and repeat trial in a market where it is increasingly hard to stand out.”

More than four million consumers signed up to the Dry January campaign in 2019, a number that is expected to rise in 2020.

The report is based on CGA’s exclusive BrandTrack survey of 5,000 adult British consumers.