A quarter of UK pub visits now don’t involve alcohol

Robyn Black

Robyn Black

17 January 2020

New research shows that while one-in-four pub visits are now alcohol free, customers are struggling to understand what no and low drinks are on offer in pubs and bars

The stats emerged from a survey of 1,000 UK adults and 170 pub licensees by KAM Media and also showed that two-in-three licensees want more support to help them maximise the opportunity of the new trend.

'More than one-in-two consumers said they find it difficult to see which cans and bottles, behind the bar, are low and non-alcoholic versions of alcoholic drinks, or soft drinks specifically,' said Katy Moses, KAM Media’s MD. 'Improving the visibility and communication of the ‘low-and-no’ range available is key, especially with so many new and unfamiliar brands entering the category.'

Less than half of consumers are currently satisfied with the ‘low and no’ range available in pubs

KAM Media research 2020

The research, carried out in the past month, revealed that less than half (45%) of consumers are currently satisfied with the ‘low and no’ range available in pubs, a figure which rises slightly to 47% in restaurants.

Stats also show that 63% of customers expect low and no alcohol variants to be cheaper than alcoholic equivalents, and 13% say the price actively puts them off purchasing.

Interestingly, GenZ and Millennials (18 to 35-year-olds) are much less bothered by price, with the research suggesting that 36% are happy to pay more for a good quality, low-or-no alcohol variant, compared to just 19% GenX (over 35s) who would.

Such drinks are performing better in the off-trade with more than a third of UK adults having tried a low or no alcoholic drink at home, which nearly doubles when looking at GenZ and Millennials specifically.

Moses suggested this was because, 'consumers can be less intimidated in a supermarket or convenience store compared with a pub or restaurant; they can read and compare labels; the price points are also a bit lower for trialling new products and brands. It’s a safe way for consumers to take their first step into the category while they familiarise themselves with the different brands.'

KAM’s research also identified that many licensees are excited about the ‘low-and-no’ opportunity, with two thirds having increased their range in 2019.  Many (72%) see the growth of the ‘low and no’ category as an opportunity to upsell customers into more premium drinks than traditional soft drinks.

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