THE THIRST FOR PREMIUM SOFT DRINKS IS NOW.

Account Director Sophia Mercieca looks at the rise of the adult soft drink sector.

29.11.2017

The last few years has seen a boom in adult soft drinks, a category that almost ceased to exist a decade ago.

If you went into a licensed venue seeking a non-alcoholic beverage (usually to the dismay of your booze fuelled friends) you could expect an offering of standard pre-mix soft drinks or mixers, but today it’s a different story.

The rise of the adult soft drink sector has reached an all-time high, with hundreds of different brands playing in this area worth multiple billions, many of which are zero calorie, expertly crafted and distilled using the finest sourced ingredients and botanicals.

Innovative brands such as Seedlip (non-alcoholic spirit), Duchess (non-alcoholic Gin and Tonic) and Belvior (non-alcoholic wine) have been making waves.

The increase of this category hasn’t gone unnoticed within the on-trade and it was one of the hot topics that we saw discussed at this year’s Global Drinks Forum in Berlin. Senior stakeholders from Diageo, Bacardi & Distil Ventures predicted the rise of no alcohol brands as a concern for the alcohol drinks trade and concluded that for on-trade businesses to keep up with changing consumer demands and expectations, a strong non-alcoholic offering should be made available.

43% said “I’d like to go out more but the cost is just too high”
Survey of 1,000 18-30 year olds

So what’s been driving this shift of purchase choice and behaviour?

A recent Pub Goers survey conducted by Cardinal Research found that millennials hold the key!

They spoke to 1,000 18-30 years old across the UK on their social activities and attitudes towards drinking alcohol and found the main trend amongst this age group is less alcohol drinking.

The main driver of this being lack of money, 43% said “I’d like to go out more but the cost is just too high”, this is backed up by the fact that millennials earn up to a fifth less than their parents in baby boomer age… enter the rise in home entertaining and the ‘Netflix and Chill’ epidemic.

It all seems rather hopeless for ‘the youth’, until you realise they’re a determined and classy bunch. The latter trends identified are focussed on the need to be healthy and spend money on entertainment experiences over a night of debauchery. 54% opting for physical activity at least once a month. 27% making healthy eating and exercise a priority above all.

Tie this into Generation Z (16-25 year-olds), a group who are more concerned about their personal and career advancement than with socialising and going to parties and what does this mean for the on-trade?

The need for a great non-alcoholic offering is detrimental to capitalising on the behaviour of millennials. They demand innovation and choice within this category without spending alcohol prices – the industry needs to adapt in order to survive!

Certainly an area to watch for alcohol and soft drink manufacturers alike.

If you’d like to chat about how to tackle this fast expanding category, contact us on hello@mercieca.co.uk

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