Summer is a thirsty season and although a lot of effort is put into fresh and seasonal food the drinks seem to fall by the wayside. With people flocking to open air spaces, rooftop bars and pub gardens you want to make sure that you have an inclusive drinks selection catering to as many thirsty punters as possible.
Data from The Office for National Statistics shows that the proportion of adults who say they drink alcohol is at the lowest level on record with almost half the population now shunning a regular drink.
This trend appears to have been led by a sharp rise in teetotalism, with 21% of adults not drinking alcohol at all and young people increasingly turning away from their stereotype as ‘binge drinkers’ in favour of a healthier lifestyle. Alcohol Concern statistics show that in 2016, 21% of the population reported that they had not drunk alcohol at all contributing to the overall alcohol consumption falling by 18% since 2004.
Although non-alcoholic and low alcohol beers only account for a very small proportion of the global beer market, according to Canadean they are showing a greater rate of growth than the traditional beer sector.
Lower alcoholic beer options resonate with more health conscious consumers, especially since the media began its demonization of sugar. Lower alcohol options are also targeted as alternatives for drivers, pregnant women, nursing mothers and those that abstain for a religious reason but still wish to enjoy the taste of an alcoholic drink.
The UK drinks market is rapidly changing due to the increasing public demand for more alcohol-free adult beverages. A recent study by Ab In-Bev UK revealed that 31% of us have now tried an alcohol-free beer, and 19% of us are unable to distinguish it from an alcoholic beer with regard to taste, with Londoners being more likely to drink an alcohol-free beer than any other UK city.
According to Canadean, ‘health’ tops the list of drinkers concerns. This can also be used to explain the sudden rise in demand for gluten-free alcoholic beverage alternatives that currently are under represented in pubs and bars but appeal to the growing market of free-from consumers.
Supermarkets, savvy to allergy sufferers, have taken a considered approach; dedicating whole aisles to products suitable for coeliac sufferers. However, pubs and restaurants despite now providing their allergen information as required in the 2014 legislation are still well behind in providing alternatives in their drinks ranges.
People living with allergies are giving up ordering a beer in social situations due to a lack of availability, and it isn’t because there are no gluten-free beer options available to them. It is important that venues cater for those with dietary requirements across their menus and drinks ranges, as that friend with allergies often has the deciding vote as to where the party goes due to their issues.
Alongside allergen sufferers, consumers are also seeking greater clarity with regard to the ingredients in their food and drink, driven by their new consciousness about health.
“As the nation becomes more health and diet conscious the food and drink industries are likely to see an increased demand for free-from food and beverages including gluten-free beer. Gluten free beer may also become the ridge between beer and cider for many cider lovers as gluten-free beers are often described as having crisp and cider-like with fruity flavours” Stainer, at CAMRA
The gluten free beer category is in growth with Mintel research suggesting that an estimated 15% of UK households now ‘pursue a gluten-free diet as a lifestyle choice’ and ‘31% of households including at least one allergy or intolerance sufferer.’
If more people are looking to see what they can and can’t drink and the information is now more readily available beer needs to stay relevant to that growing percentage of people before it drops from the free-from repertoire completely.
A gluten intolerance, coeliac disease or simply a preference to be alcohol-free should not mean giving up great tasting beer. So what can you do to help?
Firstly show that you are a discerning operator and stock gluten-free food and beverage options and a selection of low / no alcohol alternatives.
Next, make sure to advertise yourself and your new offerings. Kafoodle can help you to accurately display your allergen information and ensure that it is accessible at your customer’s fingertips, making you the new preference amongst those seeking out alternatives.
Food Allergy Awareness
Winner | 2015
Product Excellence Award
Winner | 2016
Great British Entrepreneur Awards
Silver Winner | 2015