The No and Low alcohol segment is thus well placed for growth, believes market researchers CGA.
But with the Covid-19 pandemic making many consumers more focused on their health, there are additional opportunities for Ireland’s suppliers and operators to drive profit from NoLo drinks all year round, it believes.
CGA’s Opus research shows that three-quarters (76%) of all consumers are proactively trying to lead healthy lifestyles and nearly a third (31%) say they’re drinking NoLo alternatives more often than they did a year ago. One in 10 says that ‘healthy’ is a more important attribute in their drinks than it was 12 months ago.
Beer most popular NoLo
Beer remains the most popular drink in this space by some distance. Two thirds (65%) of Ireland’s consumers – and nearly three-quarters (73%) of men – have drunk No and Low alcohol beers, putting it well ahead of cider (22%), wine (17%) and spirits (14%).
However, some of the fastest-growing opportunities in the NoLo category can be found in cocktails. More than a third (38%) of consumers say they’ve drunk mocktails or virgin cocktails.
Gender NoLo drinks divide
CGA’s research indicates gender divides in choices, with men much more likely to choose NoLo beers while women have greater interest in mocktails.
It also highlights opportunities to target 18 to 34 year-olds, who over-index on interest in the category – and mocktails in particular.
The research reveals many more insights into the demographics of NoLo consumers in Ireland including their above-average willingness to trade-up to higher quality drinks and a higher frequency of visits to the on-trade. It points to food-led occasions in pubs and restaurants as especially good opportunities to grow sales.
“It’s clear that consumers in Ireland are more focused on healthy drinking than ever before” says Sian Brennan, CGA’s Client Director for Ireland, “and their interest is going to last well beyond Dry January. “There’s major potential for growth across the No and Low category but suppliers will need to help operators understand exactly what consumers want and how best to target them. Establishing the right range, pricing, recipes and serves will all be crucial to success in what promises to be a competitive part of the market in 2022.”