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Sales of no and low-alcohol products soar in January

Published:  01 February, 2022

The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar show that many shoppers eschewed BWS for no-and low-alcohol brands in January.

Sales of beer and lager fell by -13.7% in the 12 weeks to 23 January 2022, when benchmarked against the category's performance last year. Total alcohol sales declined by -7.3% in the same period.

In addition, sales of spirits and still wine dropped by -7.1% last month, attributed to the increasing popularity of Dry January.

After an indulgent Christmas, the new year brought the usual commitment to making healthier choices. Dry January converts pushed up sales of alcohol-free beer by 5% and the numbers for retailer's own-label ranges marketed as healthy were even stronger, increasing by 8%,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.

He added: “Plant-based products proved more popular than ever. A record 10.7 million households bought at least one item that was a dairy alternative, a meat substitute or labelled as plant-based this January. Sales growth for these veggie favourites was 0.5%, well above the wider grocery market.”

However, the performance of sparkling wine was encouraging; sales actually increased by an admittedly modest 0.9% during the period. Nevertheless, a notable achievement in the context of a notoriously 'dry' month.

As reported by Harpers, sparkling wine delivered bumper Christmas sales last year, despite concerns over the Omicron variant.

According to Kantar, sales of private label sparkling brands grew by 22% in the multiples during the four weeks to 26 December 2021.

"Majestic saw a record Christmas period as we continued to outperform the market. It came very late, due to the Covid-19 communications, but in the last week we were up against the market by 55% (according to Nielsen) and recorded some of our biggest ever days, even throughout lockdowns,” said a representative from Majestic.

However, recent take-home grocery figures from Kantar show that overall supermarket sales fell by 3.8% over the 12 weeks to 23 January 2022. These year-on-year figures reflect tough comparisons against the high demand of the lockdowns at the start of 2021, with spending remaining 8% higher than pre-pandemic times.

Households in Britain are facing a cost-of-living squeeze and the latest four-week grocery price inflation stands at 3.8%, a 0.3 percentage point rise from December.

Prices are rising on many fronts, and the weekly shop is no exception. Like-for-like grocery price inflation, which assumes that shoppers buy exactly the same products this year as they did last year, increased again this month. Taken over the course of a 12 month period, this 3.8% rise in prices could add an extra £180 to the average household’s annual grocery bill,” McKevitt said.