New generation of drinkers emerge as sober curious trend gains momentum

The sober curious movement is gaining traction as more individuals opt to lower their alcohol intake or cut it out altogether, ingredients manufacturer Treatt has found.

As more Millennials and Gen Zs look to explore a life less influenced by alcohol, beverage companies are met with new challenges to cater to a new target audience.

Alcoholic drinks make up 16.5% of the beverage market, making this pillar one of the largest categories with consumption sitting at approximately 33 billion litres a year.

With the current focus on health and wellness, Treatt’s analysis points to the alcohol percentage number slowly declining, creating challenges for the alcohol market.

Shifts in consumer demand will result in greater adaptability, leading Treatt to list the ways beverage brands are responding to the new interest in sober living..

As the Millennial and Gen Z generations embrace healthier lifestyles, cocktails are starting to be better-for-you. Spirited options without the spirit are the drink of choice when in a social setting for these generations who prefer low to no alcohol, without compromising on flavour.

Mocktail bars all across New York are popping up and rising in popularity. With the rise of sober influencers, mocktail bars are helping consumers satisfy the demand to have a great time without the alcohol. Although there is no booze in these drinks, the prices are staying the same and sales are going up. So much so, that non-alcoholic beverage sales grew from 700 million to 1.1 billion dollars in the past year in the United States.

Big business has been keeping its eye on the impact small-batch entrepreneurs have on the low to no alcohol market, with several players entering the market already.

Looking ahead, a number of large beer companies in Europe and the United States have promised to fill at least 20 per cent of its global portfolio with non-alcoholic beer by 2025. This means that pretty soon, sober curious beer drinkers will have a market catered to them with many options to choose from.

With many members of the younger generations staying away from alcohol, beverage brands are seeking more creative ways to attract the sober curious customer. Companies are taking canned seltzers and adding herbs, nourishing plants, and other compounds that support cognition and health. These drinks not only replace the typical regular non-alcoholic beverage, but it helps the healthy lifestyle that the sober curious consumers are looking for.

Other companies, such as those that offer non-alcoholic wines, are providing the full aroma and taste of typical wine, but with no alcohol and half the calories.

In addition to brands tweaking their ingredients, sparkling waters, seltzers, and sodas are on the rise thanks to a decline in alcohol consumption. In social gatherings, many sober curious consumers are looking for a beverage that is a bit more interesting than water or a carbonated soft drink.

Beverage manufacturers are evolving to meet healthier lifestyles by reducing sugar and adding premium ingredients. The soft drink, sparkling water, and seltzer companies have continually been able to effectively engage alcohol abstainers. So much so that this led to a 54% growth in sparkling water in 2018 and a 2.9% surge in soft drinks sales last year.

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