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How Brits are embracing mindful drinking

Investment and innovation needed to capture a bigger share of £5bn potential UK moderate drinkers market

Club Soda reveals the latest mindful drinking insights.

  • Half of UK adults (49%) are either not drinking any alcohol or are planning to cut down soon – a potential market of 25 million people.
  • Low and no alcohol accounts for 10% of Google searches of alcoholic drinks, but only 1% of sales. If annual sales matched interest this market would be worth nearly £5bn in the UK. 1
  • Key motivators for changing drinking habits are mental health (43%), physical health (38%) and weight loss (26%).
  • Most moderate drinkers (88%) buy and drink alcoholic and alcohol-free drinks. Almost all of them (98%) purchase at least some low and no drinks.
  • Nearly half (44%) of mindful drinkers show some brand loyalty moving from alcohol to low and no. More than one in ten (12%) have not yet found an alcohol-free version of an alcohol brand they like.
  • Many former wine drinkers switch to alcohol-free beer – categories that are slow to innovate lose drinkers as consumers cut down. 

Club Soda have today launched a milestone research report, ‘How Brits are Embracing Mindful Drinking – Consumer Behaviours on Low and No Alcohol Drinks in the UK’, with proposals for how low and no alcohol brands can take advantage of a growing market, potentially worth £5bn in annual sales.

The research draws together data collected from mindful drinkers over the past five years by Club Soda, along with new surveys and in-depth interviews with consumers. 

The data in the report identifies what mindful drinkers are looking for, what low and no alcohol drinks they are buying, what alcoholic beverages and categories they switch from, and how they discover new drinks.

We believe changing drinking habits starts with making better choices. Connecting people with the world of low and no alcohol drinks is an essential part of helping people create and sustain lasting change. The new wave of low and no alcohol drinks has a unique part to play in evolving our social culture and supporting people to meet their health ambitions. This research gives us key actions to turbocharge the growth of the sector. Even with modest growth, this market could reach £5bn in annual sales.

Laura Willoughby MBE, Club Soda Founder

The research was supported by AB InBev through their 100+ Accelerator programme.

We are proud to support Club Soda to take their social mission global and develop the tools to help more Brits become mindful drinkers. At Budweiser Brewing Group we have ambitious smart drinking goals; one of which is to support people to make responsible choices, through a growing portfolio of great tasting no and low-alcohol beers.

Timiko Cranwell, Corporate Affairs Director from Budweiser Brewing Group, the UK arm of AB InBev

Other key findings on consumer choices:

  • Wine is the most commonly searched for category of alcohol-free drink but many former wine drinkers switch to alcohol-free beer.
  • Beer is the only category of drink that is more popular as a low and no product among mindful drinkers.
  • The range of drink categories people drink reduces as people change their drinking habits. The average mindful drinker drinks or used to drink products from 3.8 alcoholic categories, but only an average of 2.5 low and no categories. 
  • After trying low and no drinks, 90% of people say they will definitely buy them.
  • Most people (93%) buy low and no alcohol drinks from supermarkets, and nearly half from online shops (48%), followed by pubs (35%), restaurants (23%) and bars (20%). On-trade discovery is a unique opportunity when lockdown ends. 

There is a free summary.

Club Soda is the UK’s mindful drinking movement, helping people to drink more mindfully and Live Well. They support venues to develop a broader range of low and no drink options to improve sales to a diverse range of customers. 

It will be using this research to power new tools for consumer discovery of new drinks and building an international online drinks guide. Club Soda have also developed new training materials for venue managers and staff that are launching soon. 

Good to know:

  1. Low and no alcohol currently make up c. 1% of alcohol sales, but 10% of the Google searches of alcohol. If the low and no sector annual sales matched the interest, this market would be worth c. £5bn in the UK. Based on alcohol sales data from Statista and our analysis. 
  2. The research can be purchased for £100 here. It is free to Club Soda brand members. You can download the summary for free here.
  3. Other recent Club Soda research includes and can be found at clubsoda.me/Research
  4. Club Soda is funded by consumers, events and a membership scheme for low and no drinks brands which supports their research, campaigning to parliament, and development of drink discovery tools. AB InBev is just one of over 50 contributing brands. 
  5. The 100+ Accelerator is committed to finding solutions for some of the most pressing environmental and social challenges of our time and is funded by AB InBev, The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive and Unilever in a unique partnership to fund and pilot sustainable innovation in supply chains.
  6. Pictures of Laura and Club Soda Events and Festivals can be found here 
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