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People drink less if presented with more no-ABV options

Consumers are more likely to choose non-alcoholic drinks if the number of zero-ABV options is greater than boozy beverages, new research has shown.

Research shows consumers are more likely to not drink alcohol in venues that stock more no-ABV drinks than alcoholic beverages

According to the results of an online experiment by the University of Bristol, in the UK, when the number of non-alcoholic drinks available was greater than alcoholic options, 49% of those surveyed chose a non-alcoholic drink. These included soft drinks and alcohol-free beer.

However, when the portion of alcoholic options was greater than the no-ABV choices, only 26% of those questioned opted for a non-alcoholic tipple.

Researchers from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Bristol Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), the University of Bristol and the University of Cambridge asked more than 800 adults who drink alcohol on a weekly basis to take part in the online experiment.

The experiment comprised a hypothetical drinks selection task, where participants were given one of four different conditions to make their selections.

Dr Anna Blackwell, from the University of Bristol, who led the study, said: “Non-alcoholic drink options are often less prominent in restaurants, pubs and bars.

“In the longer term, widening the choice available for customers and increasing exposure to non-alcoholic drinks could help shift social norms around drinking these products.

“Given the growing market for alcohol-free beer, wine and spirits, this sort of intervention is timely and of interest not only to policy makers, but also licence holders and drinks manufacturers.”

The low- and no-alcohol sector has been growing rapidly over the past few years. In 2019, The Spirits Business looked at the 10 most recent low- and no-alcohol spirits to join the expanding category.

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