US consumers’ preference for lighter beverages is impacting alcoholic drinks innovation. The low-calorie and low-sugar labels seen in emerging products such as hard seltzers (also known as alcoholic waters) particularly appeal to US millennials, 66% of which state they are often or always influenced by how a product impacts their health and wellbeing when choosing alcoholic beverages. This is much greater than the national average at 47%, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Mitsue Konishi, Senior Innovation Analyst at GlobalData, comments:
Packaged still and sparkling waters continue to be key categories for consumers seeking pure, simple and healthy hydration. Hard seltzers typically carry low-sugar and around 100 calories, compared to typical sugary cocktails or beers.”
The trend of healthier alcohol options is also prominent in other markets. In the UK, Swedish brewery and cider company Kopparberg introduced Balans Aqua Spritz earlier this year, while UK start-up Tribeology has rolled out alcoholic sparkling water Bodega Bay. More recently, Molson Coors launched hopped sparkling water under the Wellraiser name.
Flavored water has been trending in the UK, and this move into the alcoholic sector looks to resemble US launches. Moreover, increased interest in lighter, less calorific non-alcoholic drinks is a global scale trend. Thus, the hard seltzer concept is likely to spread outside of these markets.“
Trends that tap into health concerns can often be long-lived as consumers feel less guilty about consuming them. Therefore, hard seltzers as an innovation in flavored alcoholic beverages (FABs) are here to stay. And since they are closely linked with soft drinks, non-alcoholic beverage producers are likely to enter the market.
Coca-Cola has already had a successful entry into FABs in Japan with the Lemon-do brand, a chu-hi drink (made with white liquor and carbonated water) with a composition similar to a hard seltzer. The impact of hard seltzers in the US will not go unnoticed by the global beverage company.”