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Portman Group: ‘Seltzers aren’t understood by consumers’

Published:  25 February, 2021

The Portman Group has launched guidance on the growing hard seltzers category following research which showed that just 7% of consumers had heard of the drinks. 

The research, which was carried out by YouGov in November, found that 93% of UK consumers had not heard of hard seltzers.

Less than a quarter (21%) had heard of at least one of ‘hard water’, ‘alcoholic sparkling water’ or ‘hard seltzer’, with understanding of the terms associated with alcoholic seltzers highest in younger consumers aged 18-24. 

Over two thirds (68%) of British consumers didn’t understand whether ‘hard’ was being used to convey either the alcoholic content, alcoholic strength, or both. 

Additionally, nearly two thirds (64%) did not feel the term was useful when used to indicate alcoholic content on soft drinks or alcoholic drinks.

“Our research shows there is consumer confusion on the use of the various hard seltzer terms,” said Matt Lambert, CEO of the Portman Group.

“This is perhaps unsurprising given the relative newness of the category in the UK; however we expect it to grow rapidly. As such the guidance has been issued in anticipation of the growth in order to help producers avoid potential pitfalls as they innovate and launch. The Independent Complaints Panel (ICP) is the final arbiter of the Code and will assess complaints about products on a case-by-case basis, accounting for all relevant information”, he said. 

The Hard Seltzer Guidance stipulates that products must communicate their alcoholic nature with absolute clarity.