The year of no- and low-alcohol wine?

While still lagging behind the more successful beer and spirits categories, global demand for no- and low-alcohol wine is on the rise. As the EU readies to reform de-alcoholised wine production, the European wine industry takes stock of future opportunities for the no- and low-alcohol wine category. Jacopo Mazzeo reports.

No- and low-alcohol drinks become more important as lifestyle products
No- and low-alcohol drinks become more important as lifestyle products

“There is a clear pattern emerging in terms of consumers looking more towards low- and no-alcohol options,” says Lulie Halstead, CEO of wine consumer research and insights, Wine Intelligence. “It’s driven by three key consumer trends: health, control and taste. We want to drink stuff that is better for us, be it in fewer calories, with more ‘natural’ ingredients or to have fewer headaches. We want to drink things that won’t cause us to lose control, whether it is because we value this control for its own sake, or just want to avoid being embarrassed by a legion of social media uploads.”

Over the past few years, as consumers shift towards healthy eating and drinking by cutting down on their alcohol intake, interest in the no- and low-alcohol drinks category has been steadily on the rise. No- and low-ABV wine options, however, have been lacking when compared to the more successful beer and spirits alternatives, an issue that Halstead ascribes to the category’s struggles to pass the taste test and to the fierce competition of other no- and low-alcohol beverages. “When considering the driver of taste, we can see why no- and low-alcohol wine is currently struggling to meet the benchmark for consumers. ‘I dislike the taste’ is still a purchasing barrier for nearly a third of the global wine-drinking population,” says Halstead.

Despite the challenges however, Wine Intelligence’s latest Opportunities for Low- and No-Alcohol Wine report shows potential for growth for the category, as it notes that there is an “unmet consumer need” when it comes to no- and low-alcohol wine.

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