"Our research shows that Australians are drinking less, and the rates of underage drinking is decreasing. These trends mirror recent government statistics, and suggest that our relationship with alcohol is fundamentally changing to one that is more mature and responsible." (DrinkWise)
The younger generation, in particular, are more health-conscious and looking for the seemingly impossible: indulgent, flavoursome, convenient drinks options that won't sabotage their health goals and commitments.
As a population, we are are increasingly conscious and aware of what we're putting into our bodies. There is a trend towards moderation and mindfulness, and what comes with that is a different attitude towards alcohol and its role in our lives.
Move aside stock standard
(Drinks Industry Show)
Less alcohol, more benefits
Alcohol-free and reduced strength/size products are no longer seen as inferior. In many cases, these products are more desirable, as they offer the taste and experience of alcohol - minus the guilt.
Many of us want to enjoy the taste of a beer at a social occasion whilst either reducing or completely avoiding alcohol. Sobah Beverages is a great example of a company emerging with 'better-for-you beer'. They produce premium, non-alcoholic craft beers which are infused with native fruits and spices.
Seedlip (a company which Diageo has bought a stake in) produce premium, non-alcoholic distilled spirits. They don't use additives or sweeteners and instead focus on fresh ingredients and botanicals.
"If you're not drinking alcohol for whatever reason, the options are poor... It's fruity, sweet or standard, rather than grown-up and great-tasting... There's no theatre, no ritual and nothing to talk about... We want to change that." (Ben Branson, Seedlip)
Gluten-free, vegan, lactose-free, lower carb and low calorie options which align with the low sugar and 'natural' trend have even stretched into providing functional benefits for alcoholic drinks.
(Drinks Insight Network)
Consumers are looking for alcohol options which fit into their increasingly busy lifestyles. On-the-go formats capture different segments of the market and create new occasions, providing fantastic opportunities for drinks manufacturers.
The stigma associated with products like 'wine in a can' is much less prevalent nowadays, with consumers finding this to be a practical format for drinking outdoors or at BBQs, for example.
“Our customers have embraced wine in a can due to its convenience... it’s now recognised that a can doesn’t mean compromising on quality. The convenience of the packaging is well suited to the Australian lifestyle. We spend a lot of time outdoors, at picnics, festivals and the beach but up until wine in a can you couldn’t easily enjoy wine in those settings.” (George Radman, Head of Wine at Dan Murphy's)
Take It to The Grave Shiraz is an example of an innovative, premium-feeling product that is making waves in the wine landscape. This product retails in smaller-serve cans, and is described as "an inviting and expansive wine displaying aromas of blood plums, packed with supple dark berry and blackcurrant flavours."
Tap into it
So, how can your business tap into these trends?
Low and no-alcohol wine, in particular, have a reputation for being overly sweet and sugary - and this can put shoppers off buying it. Therefore, being innovative with flavour is an important factor, as well as avoiding sugar and instead focusing on naturally energising ingredients, such as Maca.
Businesses can use the ‘value add’ of these ingredients to help change people's perception of their product and create a‘good for you’ appeal - even in the alcohol space.
(Drinks Insight Network)
Make it easy
Stand out from the crowd
Appeal to health conscious consumers or the shoppers searching for authenticity and personalisation by diversifying your range to include innovative new flavours, occasions and dietary-sensitive or premium options.
As many Australians cut back on volume and invest in the experience of drinking (be that with premium alcohol-based products or innovative alcohol-free options), creating an emotional response to your product becomes increasingly important. Advertising, messaging and packaging should shout indulgence, creative flair, authenticity and a premium product.
Drink with a twist
Whilst it's true that alcohol consumption is declining for many Australians (for men and young people but not women, interestingly!), there are many new opportunities to get stuck into, if you are ready to flex and get creative! As consumers' priorities and attitudes change, now is an exciting time to be innovative, create new occasions and experiment with flavours, formats, messaging, and more.
If these innovation opportunities are jumped on and executed by big brands in an authentic way, then there is the chance to stand out and connect with different or emerging consumer groups. Today's consumers are increasingly conscious and mindful in their purchasing decisions, so the question is: can your products satisfy that need?
Over to you