The market analyst said the findings indicate a “significant opportunity” for low-alcohol and alcohol-free beers, ciders and wines, a sector which is already seeing a raft of NPD.
The new Mintel research, covering the 12 months to November 2016, revealed that half of the nation’s beer, wine and cider drinkers say they are drinking less alcohol than a few years ago.
The two factors driving this are health and finances, the research shows. Today, lower and no-alcohol drinks are consumed by 23% of drinkers worldwide, while just 14% of Brits drink low-alcohol or alcohol-free beers, cider or wine.
Consumption of lower-alcohol drinks is higher among men (26%) and above average for 18 to 34-year-olds (41%).
As part of the research Mintel asked consumers whether they would be more likely to buy these drinks if they tasted more like standard-strength equivalents, and 28% said they would.
Richard Caines, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel, said: “As many as a third of all Brits have limited or reduced their alcohol consumption at some point in the past year.
“Reducing alcohol consumption to save money reflects the discretionary nature of drinks and how they can add significantly to outgoings.” He added: “Replicating the taste of standard-strength alcoholic drinks and changing perceptions remains a key challenge for low-alcohol and alcohol-free manufacturers.
“Alcohol-free versions of alcoholic drink brands also need to look at the reasons consumers are limiting or reducing their alcohol intake in order to increase their appeal as an alternative to standard-strength alcoholic drinks. “This includes offering bigger savings, as well as prominently highlighting lower-calorie content compared to standard- strength equivalents to those looking to better manage their weight and improve health.”
Producers and retailers may also be able to boost sales of low and no-alcohol drinks by driving awareness of the government’s guidelines on alcohol consumption, according to Mintel, which said weekly alcohol limits are a “mystery” for most Brits.
The guidelines advise men and women to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week on a regular basis, but only one in 10 adults surveyed correctly stated this.