Almost two thirds of UK adults have tried low- and no-alcohol products, while 6.5 million consumers are expected to take part in Dry January this year.
A YouGov poll commissioned by alcohol watchdog the Portman Group found that 62.5% of UK adults have tried low- and no-alcohol products, including more than two thirds (68%) of current drinkers.
In addition, 25% of UK adults claim to be semi-regular consumers of low- and no-alcohol, with the highest consumption taking place in Scotland (27%).
The Portman Group said the key reasons for choosing these alternatives include the ability to drive home and not drinking excessively at social events.
Furthermore, of those who say they are more likely to drink low- and no-alcohol products since the emergence of Covid-19, 43% claim they are trying to live healthier and 41% say they are trying to moderate their alcohol consumption at home.
Additionally, 17.5% of those who drink low- and no-alcohol drinks said they would be more encouraged to select alternatives if there was more choice available in supermarkets and on-trade venues.
The Portman Group said the research ‘reinforces existing responsible drinking and moderation trends’.
Research from the Portman Group in August 2020 found that a quarter (26%) of UK drinkers had cut their alcohol consumption compared to before the first Covid-19 lockdown, while a further 7% had stopped drinking completely.
John Timothy, CEO of the Portman Group, said: “Lockdowns and the tier system have given Brits pause to consider their alcohol consumption, with many drinking less than ever before. Low- and no-alcohol alternatives offer the perfect balance of replicating the atmosphere created by alcohol without any of the associated risks.
“Four in five UK adults, the moderate majority, continue to drink within the CMO’s [chief medical officer] lower risk weekly guidelines. We welcome the rise of low- and no-alcohol that helps people to moderate their alcohol intake while still enjoying time with family and friends.
Dry January poll
Meanwhile, a recent survey by charity Alcohol Change UK found that one in five UK adults plan to participate in Dry January this year.
The Dry January campaign, whereby drinkers abstain from alcohol for the entire month, was launched by Alcohol Change UK in 2013.
Alcohol Change UK said its polling shows more than 6.5 million adults intend to participate in Dry January – up from 3.9m in 2019. That is the equivalent of one in five of people who consume alcohol.
The research found that one in three people said they consumed more alcohol last year than in 2019. One in five (22%) said they felt concerned about the amount they have been drinking since Covid-19 restrictions started in March 2020. Of those polled, 26% said they were drinking earlier in the day, 31% were found to be drinking more often and 23% were consuming alcohol ‘to try and cope’.
More than a quarter (27%) of people who drink alcohol would like to cut down in 2021, the poll found.
Dr Richard Piper, chief executive of Alcohol Change UK, said: “2020 has been a year like no other. Many of us have spent the year stressed, scared and tired – it’s no wonder that many of us don’t feel much like ourselves.
“When things get tough, we can find ourselves slipping into drinking habits we wish we could break – but Dry January can help. It’s our chance for a reset. “
“Dry January isn’t about stopping drinking forever, but it is about more than January. It’s about learning that you don’t need alcohol so that for the rest of the year you’ve got a real choice. It’s about making 2021 the best it can be, and we deserve that now more than ever.”
Last month, Diageo-backed Distill Ventures said the non-alcoholic drinks sector must focus on creating ‘relevant’ connections and at-home experiences to tap into e-commerce sales opportunities.
Meanwhile, Bacardi expects the retail sales value of the no- and low-alcohol ‘spirits’ category in Western Europe to reach US$500m over the next four years.
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Author: Nicola Carruthers