Sales of alcohol-free products have been growing fast as of recent in Australia. For example, Endeavour Group reports a 100% increase in this category. Meanwhile, IRI reports that the alcohol-free wine market was worth over $4.5 million in 2020 and forecasts that it could grow up to $15 million by the end of 2021.
For people who want to enjoy an alcohol-free beverage the range of choices is growing. Consumer demand for alcohol-free products is driving everyone from craft brewers to multinationals alcohol industry giants to expand their product range into the alcohol-free category.
People’s growing focus on and prioritization of wellness, health and mindfulness is largely driving this positive trend towards consumption of alcohol-free products. And most experts in the industry believe the trend will continue to grow in coming years.
It is a trend that shows no signs of wavering … driven by a global trend toward mindfulness and health and wellness,” said Scott Burton, marketing director of Australian Vintage Ltd, as per The Sydney Morning Herald.Scott Burton, marketing director, Australian Vintage Ltd.
Why are Australians choosing alcohol-free?
With the COVID-19 pandemic more Australians are becoming health conscious. Alcohol use rapidly increased during lockdown and it is possible people are now realizing the repercussions. This is one reason that has driven an increase in sales of alcohol-free products. Health has always been a major reason for choosing alcohol-free. One survey found that three out of 10 people aged 18-34 choose no or low-alcohol wine because they are on a diet.
I just feel like I’m a much better version of myself when I’m not [having alcohol]. I’m happier, I’m calmer,” said Jill Stark, Author and Journalist, as per ABC News.Jill Stark, Author and Journalist
While people want to choose healthier lifestyles they do not want to miss out on socializing and having fun. In this context, alcohol-free products are perfect options to share with friends and family with none of the negative effects of alcohol. It gives people who want to choose healthy an option to do so.
Traditionally, Australia has a pervasive alcohol norm. Not partaking in this norm could lead to discrimination as faced by Author and journalist Jill Stark. These new alcohol-free products normalize being alcohol-free and create more inclusive environments. The trend of growing consumption of alcohol-free beverages also challenges alcohol myths and norms.
I think it’s a trend that will continue to build, I can see it in my own social circles,” said Jill Stark, Author and Journalist, as per ABC News.Jill Stark, Author and Journalist
Meanwhile, the taste and quality of alcohol-free beverages, specifically wine has further improved, inspiring more people to try them out. These products are also often lower in sugar and caloric content. For example an alcohol-free wine from the brand Newblood is only 60 kilojoules per 100 millilitres compared with 375 kilojoules per 100ml for a standard alcoholic white wine.
Alcohol-free beverage producers have also gotten creative with their products, incorporating various ingredients such as vitamins, folic acid and polyphenols that appeal to their target audience.
Some things to watch out for
While the growing interest in alcohol-free is a positive trend for better health, there are some things to watch out for. The appearance, taste, and smell of alcohol-free products could still be triggering to people who are in recovery from alcohol use disorder or addiction. Moreover, as the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) states in a recent position statement, the availability of alcohol-free beverages in supermarkets could normalize alcohol use.
When zero-alcohol products are branded the same as large well-known alcohol companies and sold in the same aisle as other grocery products, it contributes to increased brand awareness and is a form of marketing,” said Caterina Giorgi, chief executive officer of FARE as per Good Food.Caterina Giorgi, chief executive officer, FARE
Irene Falcone who founded the online shop Sans Drinks, which sells more than 100 alcohol-free products, agrees with FARE’s concerns. She adds that an alcohol shop is also not the right place for people who are trying to be alcohol-free. As a solution she plans to build the first alcohol-free store in Sydney, Australia. A similar concept store has recently opened in Berlin, Germany.
The Sydney Morning Herald: “Why our fastest growing drinks category is now non-alcoholic wine“