Gen Z turns it back on alcohol over emotional impact

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Gen Z are becoming less inclined to choose an alcoholic drink, according to Mintel. Image: Getty, franckreporter
Gen Z are becoming less inclined to choose an alcoholic drink, according to Mintel. Image: Getty, franckreporter

Related tags Trends

Generation Z – people born between 1997-2012 – are increasingly turning their noses at alcohol over growing concerns of its emotional impact and the cost of alcoholic drinks, according to new research from Mintel.

In it’s new report, 'Gen Z: The Sober Curious Generation', Mintel found that Brits aged 20-24 were less inclined to prioritise spending on alcoholic drinks for the home than consumers aged over 75, while about a third of people aged 18-24 do not drink alcohol at all.

Those that do drink alcohol tend to drink primarily as a treat, to relax, or to mark a special occasion. Last year, 40% of Gen Zers limited their alcohol consumption in 2023, compared to 50% of those over 65 who did not.

Gen Zers cited a number of different reasons as to why they were limiting the amount of alcohol they consumed. Almost two-thirds said they were worried about the emotional impact of drinking alcohol, with a similar amount wishing to learn about ‘drinking mindfully’.

Lower calories

About a quarter reported choosing low- and no-alcohol drinks as they have lower calorie content or due to added functional and nutritional benefits, while almost a third said it was because they were cheaper than the alcoholic versions.

All in all, just under half of Gen Z said they were drinking no- and low-alcoholic drinks, but a lower intake of carbonated soft drinks than Millennials. Instead, Gen Z opt for Upgraded fruit juice with sophisticated flavours as a popular alternative.

That being said, Gen Zers drink energy drinks on a night out more than twice as much as older groups.

Growing trend

Mintel anticipated that the trend away from drinking alcohol among young people would continue to grow but may not expand into older generations, who appear to be more consistent in their alcohol consumption levels.

“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,”​ said Mintel.

“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.”

Meanwhile, from flavours of the moment, to the importance of health and functionality, to the impact of an unstable world – Food Manufacture unpicks the major trends and drivers for food and beverage producers in 2024.

Related topics NPD Drinks

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