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Low and no alcohol: exploring the sober-curious movement

Glass of mocktail on a wooden ledge
Thomas Hetzler/Unsplash
Aug 15, 2023 By WGSN Insider
Updates from WGSN

Is the low-and-no alcohol movement a passing fad? Or is it here to stay? WGSN’s Food & Drink team explores the opportunities in this sector, from premiumising drinks to mood-boosting ingredients.

In 2022, WGSN covered drink trends, from cocktail nostalgia to mindful sips. Once driven by Gen Z, the sober-curious lifestyle is being adopted by health-conscious consumers with an emphasis on wellness, inclusivity and freedom of choice.

In this episode, WGSN’s Executive Editorial Director Bethan Ryder, Director of Food & Drink Jennifer Creevy and Food & Drink Strategists Rachel Tan and Millie Diamond delve into the burgeoning world of low-and-no alcohol beverages, tracing its footprints across the global arena and highlighting opportunities for catering to Muslim-majority countries alongside product innovations that span different dayparts, formats, occasions and more, from breakfast and brunch settings to sports-related social engagements.

Glass of beer on wooden table
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The sober party beckons – so grab a drink and raise a toast to the low-and-no space in this episode of Create Tomorrow. WGSN subscribers can read our Non-Alcoholic Drink Forecast 2025 for more product development opportunities. Alternatively, request a demo with WGSN to discover how your brand can capitalise on this growing billion-dollar drinks sector.

Consumers seek low-and-no anytime, anywhere

“Snack-sized cocktails and tiny canned wines are coming to the fore in terms of format. And in terms of dayparts, we’ll see traditional drinking times displaced, so breakfast and brunch low-alcohol options. Consumers could want zero-alcohol offerings at a party in the evening, or they could want low-alcohol offerings at a social sports activity. All of these products need to fit into this changing consumer lifestyle and boundaries will very much be blurred.”
– Jennifer Creevy, Director of Food & Drink, WGSN

Glass of orange mocktail
Emily Andreeva/Unsplash

Inspiring innovation in the low-and-no space

“When people are thinking about low-and-no drinks, they mostly think of dealcoholised beer or dealcoholised wine, non-alcoholic versions of classic cocktails. But what we’re forecasting is the premiumisation of this category and the rise of new non-alcoholic classics that can stand on their own two feet, so more sophisticated options offering complex flavours, mature drinking experiences, but without alcohol and without imitating alcohol.”
– Rachel Tan, Food & Drink Strategist, WGSN

Three glasses of mocktails in a row
Louis Hansel/Unsplash

Elevating drinks with functional ingredients

“Another quick thing that we called out in terms of premiumisation is functional ingredients. So different varieties of mushroom like reishi to reduce stress, or cordyceps for an energy boost. Kava, CBD and cannabis are also being used as mood boosters. So replacing the alcohol content with ingredients that add multiple different benefits, particularly for mental health.”
– Millie Diamond, Food & Drink Strategist, WGSN

Head to Apple or Spotify to hear the full discussion on our Create Tomorrow podcast episode, Low & No Alcohol – The Sober-Curious Movement.

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