Alcoholic beer and cider ranges shrink due to consumer health drive

The average number of alcoholic beer and cider ranges stocked in UK supermarkets is declining, as trends towards health-conscious consumption are leading consumers to opt for alcohol-free alternatives, suggests new data from ecommerce insights company, Edge by Ascential.

Analysts at Edge by Ascential’s Price & Promotion division examined the beers and ciders category across the online sites of leading UK retailers in July 2019 versus a year ago. The analysis revealed that, since August 2018, all UK retailers have reduced their ranges in beer and cider, with Waitrose showing the largest decrease (-26%). Morrisons and Ocado are the only retailers that expanded their ranges of beers and ciders during this time, with the product count increasing by 13% in Morrisons and by 3% in Ocado. 

However, the share of low alcohol, and alcohol-free ranges is increasing in UK supermarkets. Total range with an alcohol by volume (ABV) below 0.05% (alcohol-free) increased in all retailers - including Waitrose – with Morrisons having the biggest range of alcohol-free beers. Moreover, the share of low-alcohol beers and ciders (<=1.2 and >0.05%) also increased, with Ocado in the lead with 39 products in total.  

The analysis from Edge by Ascential also found that:

  • Kopparberg, Bavaria, Heineken, Beck’s and Brewdog were the brands with the biggest number of listings for low-alcohol products
  • Brands are increasingly highlighting their suitability for various dietary restrictions and lifestyles, with the number of vegan beer and cider significantly increased in all retailers. Asda (103) has the highest number of items where "vegan" is included in the product description.
  • Among brands, Brewdog has the highest number of "vegan" listings (81). The total count didn't change YoY. Thatcher’s and Camden Town Brewery - the second and third brands for the number of "vegan" listings - gained shelf space YoY, whilst Rekordelig, San Miguel and Carlsberg were the brands that introduced the highest number of "vegan" listings.

Irene Bodega, Insight Analyst, Edge by Ascential, said: “Consumers are continuing to place more value on health and wellness, and the demand for healthier options when drinking is now on the rise. Brands should therefore take advantage of these changes in consumer tastes, through investment in the low alcohol and alcohol-free market, which are proving popular with retailers. Brands should also place a stronger focus on product descriptions to highlight dietary suitability – such as whether a product is vegan – which will ensure more transparency will consumers that are ethically minded.”

The analysis is conducted by Edge by Ascential Price & Promotion as part of Edge by Ascential’s Food & Beverage Sector Report (July 2019). The analysis was conducted from wk 01.08.18 vs. wk 01.07.19.

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