What’s Popping Up in Non-Alcoholic Beverage Innovation?
Mocktail. Zero-Proof. No-Booze. Dry Drink. Alcohol-Free.
The world of non-alcoholic beverages is taking off, with traditions such as “Sober October,” “Dry January,” and “National Sober Day” permeating the consumer experience. Major cities are launching brick-and-mortar stores that solely feature these spiritless refreshments, with L.A. opening its first early this month.
To keep up with this growing consumer demand, beverage manufacturers are picking up the pace of product innovation. Major manufacturers are entering the space, and IWSR predicts the global no-low spirits consumption will increase by over 70% by 2024.
This month’s FlavorSum Insights examines the market, consumer, and flavor dynamics of non-alcoholic beverages to inspire your next beverage creation.
Market Spotlight: Non-Alcoholic Beverages
According to Innova Market Insights, the alcohol-free space has been steadily growing over the past few years, with a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22% globally from 2016-2020.1 In comparison, full-alcohol beverages only saw a 13% CAGR globally in that same timeframe.
Of all alcohol-free subcategories, beer has taken the lead in new product launches for a few years, but other subcategories are gaining momentum as the space continues to see growth.
Consumers in Focus: The Occasion and Audience for Spiritless Spirits
As the alcohol-free space grows, so too does consumer fodder. According to Tastewise, more people are talking about mocktails on social media platforms.2 And while getting an alcohol-free beverage is a mocktail’s reason-for-being, other drivers of consumer interest include refreshing or gourmet tastes, visual appeal, and fun.
Consumer Drivers – Mocktails
In addition to the moderating their drinking experience, consumers are also seeking products that align with their wellness goals. Innova’s Alcoholic & Low/Non-Alcoholic Beverage Trends report spotlights the trend of sugar reduction in low/no alcoholic beverages, hinting that consumers are seeking healthful options in more ways than one.1 The most prevalent label claim in the products featured touts “no added sugar,” with “reduced sugar” also highlighted.1
When it comes to the sober-curious population, younger consumers are standing out as a key demographic. According to Mintel, 35% of younger consumers aged 22-25 who order from restaurants and don’t order alcoholic beverages indicate that alcohol doesn’t interest them. 27% of the same group say they don’t drink alcohol at all. As a part of their 2022 Top Food Trends report, Whole Food Market identified “Buzz-Less Spirits” as a top trend, with millennials and gen z leading the pack.
Flavor Profiles for Non-Alcoholic Beverages
According to Mintel, fresh fruit tastes win out when it comes to the flavor for non-alcoholic beverages, but there is still room for growth for other profiles.
Whether it’s citrus, berry, or tropical, a non-alcoholic beverage should offer the same complexity and sophistication that a full-alcohol drink usually provides. Consumers have specific expectations for an adult sensory profile when indulging in an alcoholic beverage. When formulating an alcohol-free analog, producers should strive to deliver a similar experience.
1 Innova Market Insights
2 Tastewise: posts, recipes, searches, dishes, restaurants, 52 weeks ending August 2021
3 Mintel Research
Formulating for Alcoholic Beverages?
Click the video below to view our latest video blog on Mastering Formulation Challenges in RTD Cocktails.
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In the November issue of FlavorSum Insights:
A Taste for What’s to Come for 2022 Flavor Trends
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