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YouGov survey shows rise in popularity of low and no alcohol alternatives, with young adults now the biggest consumers

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  • Huge rise in 18-24 year olds considering themselves either regular or occasional drinkers of low and no alcohol products.
  • Almost a quarter of drinkers have cut down on alcohol due to alcohol alternatives
  • UK consumers drink alcohol alternatives to avoid drinking excessively at social events and be able to drive home

The Portman Group’s sixth annual survey in partnership with YouGov shows that young people are the biggest consumers of low and no alcohol alternatives, with nearly half (44%) of 18-24 year olds surveyed considering themselves either an occasional or regular drinker of alcohol alternatives, compared to 31% in 2022*.

Trends also show that the younger generation are now the most sober age group overall, with 39% of 18-24 year olds not drinking alcohol at all.

The results show how these products have contributed to increasing moderation among UK drinkers – with a rise in respondents who have seen their alcohol consumption decrease as a result of low and no alcohol products (23% compared to 21% in 2022)** and over a third (35%) of those surveyed now consider themselves an occasional or regular drinker of alcohol alternatives – a significant increase from 2022 (29%).

Our research continues to tell a positive story of how low and no products have become an important and normal part of how the UK public moderate their drinking and tackle potential harm – with three quarters (75%) of UK drinkers having at least tried a low and no alcohol alternative, compared to a third (33%) of non-drinkers.

For the sixth year in a row the most popular reasons to drink alcohol alternatives are to avoid drinking excessively at social events and being able to drive home.

This reinforces how they could play an important role in tackling wider alcohol-related harm, such as drink driving, and aiding people in staying within the Chief Medical Officer low-risk guidelines of 14 units per week.

Of those who could recall, UK consumers most often drink these products alternating with alcohol or on drink free days during the week and 83% first tried an alcohol alternative through a product which shared branding with an alcoholic product.

Matt Lambert, CEO of the Portman Group said: “It is welcome to see a further rise in the popularity of low and no alcohol alternatives as well as further evidence of how they are an important tool to help UK drinkers, particularly younger adults, to drink responsibly.

“The availability of alcohol alternatives has never been more abundant and we eagerly await the outcome of the recent UK Government consultation on low alcohol descriptors, which we hope will further facilitate the growth of the UK low and no alcohol market.”


Notes to editors  

  • All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2197 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th – 17th November 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
  • *N.B There was a change in question wording between 2022 and 2023 surveys from ‘often’ and ‘sometimes’ to ‘regular’ and occasional’ in terms of typical low and no alcohol alternative consumption, and impact on alcohol consumption since ‘first trying’ an alcohol alternative to ‘due to’ and alcohol alternative.
  • **Excluding those who did not drink alcohol before first trying a low and no alcohol alternative.
  • A spokesperson is available for interviews upon request.
  • The Portman Group was formed in 1989. It is the alcohol industry regulator and social responsibility body. It has over 160 Code signatories from producers, retailers and membership bodies.
  • The Portman Group is funded by 19 member and associate member companies: Asahi UK Ltd; Aston Manor Cider; Bacardi; Beam Suntory; Brown-Forman; Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I; Campari; C&C; Diageo GB; Edrington UK; Heineken UK; Mark Anthony Brands International; Mast-Jäegermeister UK; Molson Coors Beverage Company; Pernod Ricard UK; Punch Pubs & Co; SHS Drinks; Thatchers’; and Treasury Wine Estates.
  • The Code of Practice for the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks was first published in 1996. In 2021, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Code. The Code seeks to ensure that alcohol is promoted in a socially responsible way, only to those aged 18 and over, and in a way that does not appeal particularly to those who are vulnerable. The Code has helped create an industry that works effectively within the context of a self-regulatory model, while encouraging design, innovation and creativity. This has been done in an effective, responsive and inexpensive way.
  • Effectively – over 170 products have been amended or removed from the market. Many hundreds more have been helped to adhere to the Code before appearing on shelves through the support of the Advisory Service;
  • Responsively – there have been five updates to the Code over 25 years responding to changes in public attitudes and expanding its reach; all without recourse to Government or Parliamentary time;
  • Inexpensively – the leading members of the industry are currently funding the model for all to be protected at no cost to the public purse.

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