Survey: Spirits with no alcohol? Alcohol-free beverages for the adult market are a growing trend
Leading Nordic alcoholic beverage company Altia has conducted a study looking at consumers’ needs regarding alcohol-free drinks and why consumers choose alcohol-free alternatives. Globally, non-alcoholic distillates are a rising trend. In Finland, alcohol-free options for high-quality alcoholic beverages are also in demand. Altia is continuously growing its selection of non and low-alcoholic "no-low" products.
Alcohol-free gin, alcohol-free rum, alcohol-free whisky: the selection of non-alcoholic distillates and other similar no-low drinks is rapidly growing in Europe. Now the trend is arriving also in the Nordics. According to a study Altia conducted in Finland and Sweden, consumers are becoming increasingly interested in high-quality alcohol-free drinks that are suitable for special occasions and parties.
Consumers want alcohol-free drinks that create a festive mood
Altia’s study recognized three consumer groups: young people who do not identify with a traditional drinking culture, sober curious consumers and hybrid consumers who sometimes choose an alcoholic beverage and sometimes an alcohol-free option.
‘Alcoholic drinks are associated with getting into a festive mood. This is something consumers are also looking for in alcohol-free alternatives. Of course, you can always drink soft drinks, but they are perceived as ordinary and not the ideal option for special occasions – such as graduations and weddings’, explains Altia's Senior Consumer Insight Manager Milla Sorsakoski.
Consumers are looking for alcohol-free drinks that would have the same social function as drinking a shot, for instance. When it comes to flavour, the alcohol-free option should make a good base for a convincing mocktail. Consumers are also hoping for a wider selection of alcohol-free ready-to-drink beverages, also known as RTDs.
Producing alcohol-free alternatives takes more than just removing the alcohol
According to Altia’s SVP, Marketing Kirsi Puntila, drinking culture is going through a major transformation. Consumers are emphasizing responsibility and healthy choices when choosing products.
‘The phrase “drink like there is a tomorrow” describes the phenomenon well. Our job is to provide consumers options that work well in different situations and also allow pairing drinks and food’, Puntila elaborates.
The development of alcohol-free spirits demands strong expertise and artisanship. However, alcohol-free drinks are not an entirely new product group for Altia. One of the company’s products is alcohol-free Blossa glögg, which is produced by removing the alcohol from the drink. However, alcohol-free spirits are alcohol-free from the very start, and therefore the production process is different. Replicating the flavour profile of the original drink without any alcohol makes product development challenging.
‘Here at Altia, innovating alcohol-free alternatives is at the core of being responsible. According to our responsibility roadmap, at least 10% of our offering should comprise of alcohol-free or low-alcohol products by 2030. We already exceeded the goal last year, which demonstrates how fast we are moving forward. We have already introduced alcohol-free glöggs and an alcohol-free Koskenkorva Salmiakki vodka. Next, we will launch an alcohol-free schnapps alternative for aquavit and next year gin and ready-to-drink products”, Puntila says.
Milla Sorsakivi Senior Consumer Insight Manager, Altia Plc tel. +358 45 674 1567 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kirsi Puntila SVP, Marketing, Altia Plc tel. +358 40 509 7061 email@example.com