Soft Drinks

Forget what you know about ‘healthy beer’

Many think of beer as a high calorific drink which is likely to give you a beer belly. The move towards healthier lifestyles has meant that beer manufacturers are urged to fight this perception and come up with low-calorie options. GlobalData explains how companies are working around the idea of healthy beer.

The market for ‘light’ beers has improved

In 2017 Bud Light re-entered the UK market 16 years after the US brand’s previous ill-fated launch. As well as having 27 calories per 100ml, Bud Light has a lower ABV than standard Budweiser at just 3.5%. The brand claims that the re-launch has been successful so far in attracting a younger audience.

Beyond ‘light’ – less calories, same ABV

However, some consumers perceive low alcohol beer as lacking taste and quality. This attitude leads innovation in the sector towards reducing calories without lowering alcohol content. In 2016, UK-based Skinny Brands unveiled Skinny Lager, a low-calorie beer made using a special brewing process which removes residual sugars from the drink. At 4% ABV, it is not low in alcohol but has a very low carbohydrate content – 2.97g for 330ml. With sugar being food and drink’s number one villain, the beer is likely to be increasingly well-received.

Some consumers perceive low alcohol beer as lacking taste and quality.

Gluten-free and vegan claims have become more common in beer

Skinny Lager also boasts gluten-free and vegan-friendly ingredients and it is not alone – a spate of craft beers have claimed such credentials recently. According to GlobalData’s primary research in Q1 2017, 3% of UK consumers say they follow a vegan diet, rising to 10% for the age group of 25 to 34. This highlights millennials as the consumer group on the lookout for certified vegan products. The same age group is also more likely to opt for gluten-free products. 8% of consumers in the UK aged between 18 and 34 associate ‘gluten-free’ with ‘healthy’ according to GlobalData’s Q4 2017 survey. This compares to a lower ratio of 5% when looking across all age groups in the UK. Low-calorie, vegan and gluten-free, rather than a low alcohol content, are set to be winning attributes for beer targeting young adults.

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