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Hard seltzer sales could reach £75m in UK by 2023

The UK hard seltzer market is expected to be worth £75 million (US$102.5m) by 2023, according to a new report.

hard seltzers
The current value of the hard seltzer category in the UK is £10.4m

London-based hard seltzer brand Drty released The Drty Hard Seltzer Handbook, which looks at the origin of the category, other brands in the market, consumer demographics, case studies, market size and future predictions.

The report was written by Matthew Langley, a food and drink insights, strategy and brand expert.

The report said the current value of the hard seltzer category in the UK is £10.4m (US$14.3m). Hard seltzers hit US$4.5 billion in global sales value in 2020, the report noted.

In addition, the report noted that the UK off-trade ready-to-drink (RTD) category is estimated to be worth £235m (US$320.7m) and is growing 28.6% per year – 9% ahead of the wider alcohol sector.

It also found that 46% of UK cocktail consumers are likely to try hard seltzers, while 39% of the nation’s spirits drinkers are likely to try the drink. There are 13.7m potential hard seltzer consumers in the UK, the report found.

Kantar data cited by the report also found that more than 1.5m litres of hard seltzer were sold in the UK in the 12 months to 20 November 2020. Since January 2020, the category’s volume grew by 1,087% to 1.57m litres. The report said that the IWSR predicts a UK compound annual growth rate of 71% from 2019 to 2024.

Tom Mallett, consumer insights director, alcohol at Kantar, said: “Although it is still early days, the growth seen in the US suggests a positive future for the category in GB [Great Britain] and should further boost the growth of the strongly performing RTD category.

“In addition to supporting category growth, the emergence of hard seltzers should help to further alter perceptions of RTD in the same way that premix products (such as canned gin and tonic) have done so successfully over the past few years.

“Hard seltzers represent a shift away from the sugary image once associated with RTDs, offering a low-calorie option that is likely to appeal to health-conscious consumers. Initial shopper data shows that hard seltzers have resonated strongly with its target market of younger shoppers; going forward, the focus should be on broadening appeal among more shoppers in order to drive long-term growth.”

According to Google Trends data, the top five trending countries for the category are the US, Norway, Ireland, Canada and the UK.

The report noted that under EU law, alcohol with an ABV above 1.2% is currently exempt from providing calorie and nutritional labelling. However, now that the UK has left the EU, the UK government is seeking to change this rule as part of its obesity strategy, which could see alcohol drinks required to provide nutritional information on pack. As such, the report noted that hard seltzers could become an ‘attractive choice’ for health-conscious UK consumers.

In the on-trade, the report noted that venues should consider giving at least two spaces in fridges to hard seltzers. The report said hard seltzer consumers are more likely to visit on-trade venues, have more disposable income and are willing to spend more on high-quality products.

The report added that producers should look to expand their hard seltzer ranges beyond the single slimline pack format as multi-packs can ‘drive volume of purchase and meet different shopper needs’.

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