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‘Low and no’ drinks trend gathers pace, says UK survey

Low and no alcohol drinks aren’t just for dry January in the UK, a new survey has suggested, with one third of people now choosing them ‘semi-regularly’.

Low and no alcohol drinks are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, according to a new YouGov survey commissioned by The Portman Group, the industry self-regulatory body.

Nearly one third of respondents said they chose low or no alcohol drinks on a ‘semi-regular’ basis, up from one in four in a similar survey a year earlier.

Its results fit with analysis that consumer demand for ‘low and no’ drinks is growing strongly in several developed countries.

Portman Group and YouGov defined ‘semi-regular’ as those who reported ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’ choosing low and no alcohol options.

Being able to drive home from social events was the most common reason for people trying ‘low and no’ drinks, with 33% of the 2,079 UK adults in the survey citing this as a factor.

Other motivations ranged from reducing hangovers to concern about longer-term health risks, as well as wanting to socialise without drinking to excess.

Around 26% of those who reported drinking ‘low and no’ options said their overall alcohol consumption had gone down.

The Portman Group’s CEO, Matt Lambert, said, ‘As these positive findings show, there has been a big increase in drinking low and no during the pandemic, indicating that many UK drinkers have looked to moderate their alcohol consumption by swapping with non-alcoholic options.’

He added, ‘These figures show the fruits of large industry innovation and investment into the sector over the past decade to provide consumers with an array of lower alcohol options.’

Moderation was recently identified as a key global trend in a report by drinks industry research groups The IWSR and Wine Intelligence, commissioned by Vinexposium.

In the US, Wine Intelligence found that 30% of regular wine drinkers said they ‘would definitely prefer to buy a bottle of Champagne that has lower alcohol levels’ (lower than 10% ABV).

However, a UK government report said last year that self-reported data suggested a ‘polarisation in drinking’ during the Covid pandemic.

Most people reported drinking the same amount as before the pandemic. Of those who reported drinking less or more, the proportions were similar, said the government. Yet the report also highlighted a 20% increase in ‘alcohol specific deaths’ in 2020.

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