The search for flexibility is a key theme running through company strategies in alcoholic drinks – more so now than ever. The nature of competition is gradually shifting, as maturity and changes in consumer behaviour prompt companies to diversify and seek opportunities outside their traditional areas of specialisation. The ready-to-drink (RTD) sector is a shared expansion focus.
Functionality cues are increasingly replacing simplistic dealcoholisation approaches, and botanical alchemy and molecular experimentation with new ingredients are making the no/lo landscape one of the most innovative and exciting in the alcohol ecosystem. It is here to stay.
The turbulence of the last few years has left on-trade alcoholic drinks in a precarious state. The rise of retail was already underway prior to the pandemic, but the shift is becoming increasingly entrenched in much of the world. On-trade volumes are still notably below 2019 levels, while retail continues to climb. That partly reflects still-incomplete pandemic recovery, but also likely indicates a more structural adjustment. What do the changing patterns mean for on-trade engagement?
As explored in Euromonitor International’s recent food-focused article, the Institute of Food Technologist’s (IFT) annual conference highlights the newest developments in food and ingredient production, research, and innovation. While the primary focus of the conference was on trends and breakthroughs in the food industry, the implications of the findings and concerns in the edible space hold relevance in the potable space. The nutritional trends and expansive academic studies warrant a closer look.
Sober curious culture is a trend that is about drinkers trying to moderate their consumption levels rather than fully abstaining from alcohol. In Japan, the first signs of the sober curious trend are emerging, as “dry” initiatives are beginning to take place.
Environmental issues remain some way from top of mind for the typical alcoholic drinks consumer. Purchasing choices in the industry are governed by an array of factors, often led by brand image and positioning. Yet, expectations are changing. Sustainability is gradually becoming a key part of the picture.
The pandemic accelerated the shift towards moderation and mindful drinking, leading to an increase in demand for non-alcoholic spirits as a healthier and safer alternative. Using Euromonitor International’s e-commerce tracking tool, Via, online data for stock keeping units (SKUs) can easily identify trends.
The concept of “tardeo” has become fashionable in Spain. This refers to when consumers visit bars and restaurants to socialise in the afternoon or early evening instead of later at night. Here we look at the impact of this trend on consumers, the drinks they consume, and the foodservice outlets they frequent.
Craft beer, as defined by the American Brewer’s Association, accounted for 13% of traditional beer volume sales in the US in 2021. Prior to the pandemic, craft beer had seen a continual rise from 1988 until what seemed like a plateau in 2019, aided by the continued success of stalwarts and diverse production exploration of newer breweries. As 2023 portends a downturn, brewpubs and taprooms will be tested by the choices of a shifting craft community.