Norway: Rising NoLo Trend
The trend to be alcohol free is rising in Norway as the country becomes more accepting of sober choices.
As Kari Lossius, a psychology specialist at the Bergen Clinics says, young people’s relationship with alcohol has changed in recent years. Alcohol used to be related to celebrations, but now it is changing. Events and spaces have become more inclusive as the alcohol-free way of life gets more acceptable.
They [young people] no longer really need the artificial stimuli you get from the alcohol,” says Kari Lossius, as per Nettavisen Livsstil.
Ms Lossius believes there are several reasons why youth are moving away from alcohol. One reason is they focus more on their health and well-being, specially mental health. The openness in talking more about mental health among youth is a positive trend seen in Norway.
A third reason is that youth wants to be more in control and they want to be more themselves, also when they are at parties.
A fourth reason is how youth use their time. Instead of getting inebriated at parties young people spend much more time on the internet and with gaming, which also serve to create and maintain social relations. It is easy to stay connected without combining it with alcohol.
Problematic trends of alcohol use
However, not all news is good. According to Statistics Norway, 34% of Norwegians consume alcohol on a weekly basis.
- Older people aged 45 to 79 years consume alcohol more frequently.
- Young people aged 16 to 44 consume alcohol less frequently, but in a large quantities (more than 6 units of alcohol in one occasion).
Ms Lossius believes the trend of older people’s increasing alcohol intake is concerning as they can suffer from greater alcohol harm. The trend of older people consuming more alcohol has been seen globally including United Kingdom (UK), Germany and Australia.
According to a report by IOGT-NTO in Sweden, the increased sensitivity to alcohol in old age combined with the ageing process can increase risk of disease and accidents.
The trend of binge alcohol use among young people is also concerning considering alcohol is proven to negatively affect brain development among youth. Binge alcohol use among youth is specifically related to deficits in executive brain function such as decision making and inhibition.
The good news is: popularity for alcohol use is declining among today’s youth.
In many youth environments drinking is no longer as popular as it was for youth in the 1970s and 1980s,” said Unni Strandman, specialist advisor in the department of intoxicants at Helse Bergen, as per, Nettavisen Livsstil.
NoLo trend takes hold
A new trend that is changing the alcohol norm has grown enormously in recent years around Europe, including in Norway. NoLo originated in England and stands for “No or Low Alcohol”. The trend is about choosing low-alcohol or no-alcohol beverages. According to a new report from CGA, sales of NoLo beverages have increased by 48% in the UK between 2018 and 2019.
The demand for alcohol-free beverages has also grown in Norway. Never before has Vinmonopolet – the Norwegian government’s alcohol retail monopoly – sold as much alcohol-free beverages as in 2019. Last year, their alcohol-free sales increased by 8%, with alcohol-free bubbles accounting for one-third of sales.