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Fancy a pint in your lunch meal deal? (No/low and reduced alcohol beer performance)

Absorbing less alcohol plays an important role in the modern consumer’s “health agenda”. What role does reduced alcohol (3.5% or less ABV) and no/low alcohol (0% - 0.05% ABV) beer play in the independent c-store’s business?

All the UK’s leading supermarkets have increased the share of low and alcohol-free ranges since August 20181. According to the latest TRDP figures from our 3,000 outlets, independent convenience stores are not too far behind. 78% of stores sold reduced alcohol beer during the summer months this year (June-August 2019). The number of no/low alcohol beer stockists increased by 12% to 41% in the same period compared with last year. The number of super-strength beer (8% ABV or higher) stockists fell from 65% to 50% of our estate.

Despite year-on-year increase in number of outlets stocking and selling lighter beers, value share of no/low & reduced alcohol beer in independent convenience channel remains the same at about 3% of the beer category. A closer look at store level sales data reveals that sales performance of no/low alcohol and reduced alcohol beer in independent c-stores is very variable. More than half (53%) of independent c-stores sell just one bottle/can of no/low and reduced alcohol beer every 4 days. At the other end of the spectrum, 1 in 4 stores (25%) that stock lighter beers sold more than 2 packs every day during the summer months.

We noticed that monthly rate of sale rose most strongly in stores with higher numbers of students & young professionals (+93%), well ahead of the average increase of +23% across the board. Interestingly, a broader drinks analysis tells us that in stores where no/low & reduced alcohol beer average rate of sale is highest, it also impacts volume sales of carbonated soft drinks (cola & non-cola carbonates) suggesting that some shoppers might purchase no/low alcohol beer instead of their soft drink. Is it time for retailers, wholesalers and suppliers to consider including alcohol-free beer in the lunchtime meal deal offer?

YOY change in ROS of no/low alcohol beer and carbonated soft drinks

1Alcoholic beer and cider ranges shrink due to consumer health drive, Edge by Ascential finds
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