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Gen Z drinking less due to emotional impact

Sober socialising is proving to be popular among Gen Z, as the demographic is shunning alcohol more significantly than other generations, new data shows.

Dry January
Gen Z drinkers said they were concerned about the emotional impact of alcohol

In Mintel’s most recent report, Gen Z: The Sober Curious Generation, 40% of Gen Z consumers in the UK limited their alcohol consumption in 2023.

The age group – people born in the mid to late 1990s up until the middle of the 2010s – was found to be less inclined to prioritise spending on alcoholic drinks for home consumption than people aged 75 and over.

Around one-third of people aged between 18 and 24 abstain from alcohol entirely, and those who do opt for an alcoholic beverage do so as a treat, to relax or to celebrate a special occasion.

Reasons for cutting down on alcohol consumption include concerns about the emotional impact of alcohol (almost two-thirds). A similar number of Gen Z adults stated they would like to learn more about drinking mindfully.

Approximately a quarter of Gen Z would opt for low- and no-alcohol drinks for the lower calorie content. Furthermore, nearly a third said they preferred no-and-low serves as they were cheaper than alcoholic versions.

Mintel’s report found Gen Z consumers were opting for a variety of alternative drinks options: less than half of the age group said they would choose low-and-no options. ‘Upgraded’ fruit juice was also a popular alternative, and energy drinks were also a favourite.

The report concluded: “Brands looking to capitalise on the growing consumer base of young people staying sober should take into account that Gen Zs are choosing elevated low- and no-alcohol drinks, such as fruit juices with sophisticated flavours, rather than sticking with traditional soft drinks.

“Soft drinks and juice brands should look to elevate traditional flavours to offer a beverage for special occasions that still feels luxurious and tastes great. Additionally, offering energy-boosting elements to drinks may be a great option for sober-curious consumers who still like their nights out to go into the early hours.”

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