Is conscious consumption ‘shaking up’ the alcohol industry?

Jazmine Duncan, Strategic Content Manager
June 27, 2022

Yes. Our dashboard has detected a growing opportunity for alcohol brands within the ‘mindful drinking’ and ‘sober curious’ trends, as more consumers are opting for non-alcoholic or low-alcohol beverages. While this doesn’t necessarily mean consumers will scrap existing favourites, they’ll increasingly add healthier options to their repertoire.

Alcohol has ‘gone flat’ on the product purchase index

As the dust begins to settle after COVID, it’s impossible to ignore the substantial impact the pandemic has had on preferences and purchasing patterns over the past two years. Food, beverage and alcohol are among the categories most affected by these shifts, including the rise of more conscious consumption. Alcohol, in particular, has decreased on our product purchase index since the beginning of the pandemic, as fewer consumers purchased alcohol out-of-home and many reduced their intake.   

*Based on Streetbees data in BE, BR, CN, FR, DE, IN, INDO, MX, NL, NG, PL, RO, RU, SA, ES, TR, UK, US, VN.

However, within the category, we’ve seen options with lower alcohol percentages rise in demand, particularly wines. In fact, sparkling wine and rose wine increased from -15 to -9 from 2020 to 2022, while white wine increased from -15 to -11. This has been born from the ‘mindful drinking’ and ‘sober curious’ movements that have emerged across the alcohol industry. Consequently, no/low alcohol options, like wine, are rising in popularity, and more non-traditional ‘clean wines’ are entering the market with a range of organic, vegan and no added sugar options. 

Let’s look at the driving demand space behind these conscious drinking moments to help you position your brand. 

From our 4.5 million bees, who are constantly sharing their real-time habits and attitudes with us, we’ve found that the ‘Couples Early Evening Refreshment’ demand space over-indexes here - a space which has grown steadily since Q1 2021. This is a social occasion, where consumers are looking to relax and reset by having a light, refreshing drink with their partner. 

When it comes to the alcohol of choice in this occasion, we’ve seen an increase in beer consumption. On the flip side, wine consumption has fallen and red wine in particular saw the biggest drop between Q1 and Q4 2021. To reverse this trajectory, wine brands must improve their appeal to conscious consumers.   

*Based on Streetbees data in the BR, CN, FR, DE, IN, INDO, MX, IT, RU, ES, TR, UK, US.

So how can you grow your wine brand in this space?

1. Target younger consumers through endorsements

We’ve grown accustomed to celebrity-endorsed beverages, such as George Clooney’s partnership with Nespresso and Jennifer Aniston’s partnership with Smart Water. These types of partnerships are expected to grow within the alcohol industry, namely wine, and we’ve already seen some big names enter the field.

The proportion of younger consumers in the ‘Couples Early Evening Refreshments’ occasion grew from 12% in Q1 to 20% in Q4, so there’s a real opportunity to defend wine in this space by appealing to this younger audience. Seeing a familiar name on the bottle creates familiarity and trust for younger consumers in what can be an intimidating ‘shelf search’, so consider partnering with relevant celebrities to create a new range or promote an existing range. 

Brand spotlights - ‘some you wine, some you lose’

Avaline is a ‘clean wine’ brand, co-founded by actress Cameron Diaz. The wine is organic and vegan, and nutrition labels are provided on every bottle or can to appeal to health-conscious consumers. 

​​​​​​ Kylie Minogue Wines was launched in 2020. Kylie’s Signature Rosé is the top-selling in its category in the UK and her Prosecco Rosé is the top-selling branded prosecco rosé in the UK, with 16.2 per cent market share.

2. Champion wellness through innovation

Another way to appeal to younger consumers is through wellness. While the relaxing aspect of drinking wine is still a key driver of consumption, the younger generation continues to show a greater interest in holistic wellness. This can be seen across all categories, including the rise of functional beverages, ‘skintellectualism’ (heightened knowledge of skin needs) and vegan diets. 

To extend the wine category to these younger generations, consider tapping into the need for greater wellness through innovation. Explore functional benefits, organically-farmed ingredients and low/no variants. Ensure your labels clearly outline the nutritional values of your product for full transparency too. 

Brand spotlight - ‘you’re a real corker’

​​​​​​ Noughty has released a range of non-alcoholic wines, which are low in sugar and sulfites and are certified as vegan and halal.   

​​​​​​ Bonterra Organic Vineyards has launched Bonterra Bubbles, a new collection of organically-farmed, canned fizzy wines, created to meet demand for two surging categories: organic products and RTD offerings.


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