Trends in no and low alcohol for Dry January 2022

14 December 2021, 11:00 AM
  • Raise a toast to a new year sales boost, courtesy of functional beverages and premium low-alcohol tipples
Trends in no and low alcohol for Dry January 2022

Retailers can always count on Christmas to boost their sales of fine sparkling wines, giftable gin and whisky and cocktail-making kits, but is the festive tradition of premium alcohol indulgence fading?

The no and low alcohol trend continues to grow as brands experiment with new product development and consumers seek healthier options. This year, sales of no and low alcohol drinks are expected to grow by 17% in the UK, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, to reach a value of $741m. The multiples are counting on growth in alcohol-free drinks, with Tesco expecting around a quarter of adults to drink only no and low alcohol beverages this Christmas. Sales of zero-alcohol spirits have soared 106% this year at Tesco and 91% at Sainsbury’s.

The demand for ‘mindful drinking’ options will only continue growing in the new year as the annual Dry January challenge gets underway. This year, 130,000 people took part, and Alcohol Change UK, the organisers, are expecting even more participants in 2022.

Low alcohol drinks support moderation trend

The growth of no and low alcohol is not only down to rising ranks of teetotallers, but also because of the moderation trend. “Moderation is all about offering consumers a middle ground between ‘full strength’ and ‘full stop’,” says Atlanta O’Connor, co-founder of Cut Classics, a range of premium light spirits. 

Research from Wine Intelligence has revealed that almost 40% of regular wine drinkers are actively moderating their consumption, with some consumers even switching back and forth between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks during the same occasion.

Atlanta told Speciality Food that consumers are looking more and more for beverage options that allow them to balance a lighter alcohol intake with great taste. “Over the past couple of years, the growth of the low and no alcohol sector and campaigns like Sober October and Dry January have resulted in a raft of products that cater for consumers looking to cut out alcohol completely, but they come with a compromise, as complexities of 0% ABV spirits production mean that when the alcohol is stripped out, the fullness of flavour is too,” she says. “What we are seeing now, as we look ahead to 2022 and beyond, is a trend towards moderation, as consumers who aren’t prepared to compromise on flavour, or fun, shun the ‘all or nothing’ approach for a more moderate middle ground.”

Alcohol-free options add functional benefits

While moderation is the buzzword of the day, zero-alcohol beverages continue to attract shoppers who want more control over their alcohol intake. But to stand out on-shelf, producers are creating elixirs packed with health and wellness benefits.

For example, Impossibrew Co has added “feel-good” functional herbs and botanicals to its alcohol-free beer to offer an alternative with ‘mood-enhancing’ benefits. Meanwhile, Three Spirit has created a range of non-alcoholic drinks that promise ingredients which offer calming and energising properties, so customers can choose their drink based on the occasion. For wine lovers, Real Kombucha offers an alternative to sparkling or full-bodied white wine, which provides the gut-health benefits of kombucha.

Whether consumers are looking to eschew a Boxing Day hangover or enjoy a drink with tangible benefits for their physical or mental health, no and low options will be a safe bet for retailers in 2022.

Looking for more ways to stock no and low alcohol drinks? Download a FREE copy of Drinks Buyer for dozens of ideas. Simply click here and scroll down to our Industry Specials.

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