FIGURES show non-alcoholic and low alcoholic drinks are rising in popularity.
The Portman Group’s sixth annual survey, in partnership with YouGov, shows young adults are now the biggest consumers of the drinks.
Statistics show there has been a massive increase in the number of 18 to 24-year-olds with nearly half (44 per cent) of 18 to 24-year-olds surveyed considering themselves either an occasional or regular drinker of alcohol alternatives, compared to 31 per cent in 2022.
Trends also show that the younger generation are now the most sober age group overall, with 39 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds not drinking alcohol at all.
‘Almost a quarter of drinkers are cutting down’
Almost a quarter of drinkers have cut down on alcohol due to alcohol alternatives and the poll found. For the sixth year in a row, the top reasons UK consumers had switched to no or low alcohol beverages were ‘to avoid drinking excessively at social events’ and to ‘give them the option of driving home afterwards’.
The results show how these products have contributed to increasing moderation among UK drinkers – there has been a rise in respondents who have seen their alcohol consumption decrease because of the low and no alcohol products on offer now (23 per cent in 2023, compared to 21 per cent in 2022).
Over a third (35 per cent) of those surveyed now consider themselves an occasional or regular drinker of alcohol alternatives because of the low and no alcohol products on offer – a significant increase from 2022 when the figure stood at 29 per cent.
No and low alcohol drinks have ‘become the norm’
The research continues to tell a positive story of how low and no products have become an important and normal part of how the UK public moderate their drinking and tackle potential harm. Three quarters (75 per cent) of UK drinkers have at least tried a low and no alcohol alternative, compared to a third (33 per cent) of non-drinkers.
The Portman Group says this reinforces how the drinks could play an important role in tackling wider alcohol-related harm, such as drink-driving and helping people in staying within the Chief Medical Officer low-risk guidelines of 14 units per week.
Of those who could recall, UK consumers most often drink these products alternating with alcohol or on drink free days during the week and 83 per cent first tried an alcohol alternative through a product which shared branding with an alcoholic product.
Matt Lambert, CEO of the Portman Group said: “It is welcome to see a further rise in the popularity of low and no alcohol alternatives as well as further evidence of how they are an important tool to help UK drinkers, particularly younger adults, to drink responsibly.
“The availability of alcohol alternatives has never been more abundant and we eagerly await the outcome of the recent UK Government consultation on low alcohol descriptors, which we hope will further facilitate the growth of the UK low and no alcohol market.”
A separate survey by Alcohol Change UK showed 9million people in the UK gave ‘Dry January’ a go last year, where people give up alcohol for the first month of the new year. That was up by 1million on those participating in January 2022.