What’s the Buzz on Low-to-No Alcohol Drinks

Consumers’ interest in low-to-no alcoholic beverages, or LNA drinks, is surging across the globe. In South Africa, the LNA market is expected to experience some of the highest growth rates. Analysts expect a compound annual volume growth rate between 2020 and 2024 of approximately 16%, according to the IWSR No- and Low-Alcohol Strategic Study 2021.

The main push is coming from the health and wellbeing trend being at the forefront while trying to balance the act of alcohol consumption as a lifestyle statement or to celebrate an occasion.

In the UK 47% of consumers who have limited/reduced their alcohol consumption in the last 12 months claim it is to improve their health
30% of US Gen Z and Millennials have tried or plan to try lower ABV alcoholic drinks since the outbreak of COVID-19

(Mintel 2020 – 2021)


LNA drinks, therefore, strike a balance for those who want to indulge in moderation. Consumers who are looking for new experiences can turn to ready-to-drink mocktails or non-alcoholic spirits as the perfect solution – but what exactly makes them stand out on the shelves?

Raising the Bar for Colours and Flavours
Whether enjoyed with friends or alone at home amidst lockdowns, colour is often a key ‘wow’ factor, especially when consumers share their lives with friends on social media. Premium mocktails, just like their cocktails counterparts, should look equally as stunning.

Flavour innovation is also vital to grab consumers’ attention, complementing the visual cue of exciting colours. According to Mintel, 28% of adults in the UK would pay more for non-traditional unique alcohol flavours, with spirits being well-placed for particularly adventurous innovation, with over a quarter of consumers interested in experimenting with flavours when shopping for these products.

Close to the “Real Thing”
The overall flavour and visual appeal of Low/No Alcoholic beverages remain a key consideration factor for developers. Consumers often point out that Low/No Alcohol products/brands battle to replicate the overall visual and flavour feel in their 0% ABV versions. The research found that 65% of UK 18-24-year-old wine drinkers claim that low-alcohol wine would appeal more if it tasted more like standard ABV equivalents, while 52% of UK beer drinkers agreed that low/no alcohol beer doesn’t taste as good as the typical beer.

This has resulted in a flourish of new patents and technologies being offered to replicate visual satisfaction, including foaming properties and consistent and engaging colour. However, manufacturers still struggle to develop good taste profiles to ensure product longevity. These patented commitments signal that this rise in mindful drinking is in for the long haul – with the improved quality of products showing potential to reap exponential results.

Tapping into Functional Benefits
A gap exists where non-alcoholic beverages can position themselves as a shortcut to overall good physical and mental health. The addition of functional and halo ingredients in response to the “better for you” trend can dial up the credentials and be used to capture and expand the No/Low offering – especially in the Gen Z & Millenial markets.

An excellent market example is Senser 0% ABV shows how brands can find a role in enhancing mental health. It does this by crafting language and imagery to evoke the needsate on offer e.g relaxation and calm focus.

Here are some other examples of brands that have embraced the No/Low trend:

D24 Egzotikus Citrom Alkoholmentes Sör (Lemon Flavoured Alcohol-Free Beer). This fresh lemon flavoured beer is refreshingly tart and provides the drinker with added vitamin B6 and vitamin C to support physical and mental activities.

Martini Vibrante and Floreale Non-Alcoholic Aperitivos (0.5% ABV) are made with the same wines as its vermouths. Vibrante is made with bergamot while Floreale is made with sweet Roman camomile. Martini have emphasized the vibrant colours and premium flavours to offer the consumer the same “Martini” experience.

Fungtn Chaga Lager is an adaptogenic alcohol-free craft beer brewed for taste and saving from the hangover with the added benefits of mycoadaptogens. This product harnesses the power of medicinal mushrooms, features a tropical fruit and citrus nose vibe, and keeps the mind and body in good form.


Want more insights into the space and solutions on how to create your next LNA drink? Book a consultation with our experts today!

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