3 methods alcohol manufacturers can unlock gross sales of ‘sober curious’ Gen Z


What’s sober curiosity?

Whereas the (Gen X) supermodel Kate Moss was famend for her love of alcohol, (Gen Z) mannequin Bella Hadid is celebrating her new-found sobriety, telling Elle: “I don’t really feel the necessity as a result of I understand how it’s going to have an effect on me at 3 within the morning once I get up with horrible nervousness fascinated by that one factor I mentioned 5 years in the past once I graduated highschool.”

Fairly than being an outlier, Bella Hadid speaks for a era. Take Hadid’s birthplace, France, the place alcohol is ingrained in tradition and mealtimes. But almost three out of ten 18-24 French Gen Zs don’t drink in any respect, with an extra third lowering or limiting their consumption over the previous yr. Actually, solely round a 3rd of 18-24-year-olds drink often, in comparison with half of French adults aged 55+. This sample repeats itself throughout Europe and extra lately in North America.

Alcohol corporations threat a few years of managed decline

It is a huge concern for alcohol corporations, who haven’t been in a position to monetise Gen Z in the identical means as they did with the harder-drinking Millennials, and Gen Xers. There’s been a €2.7Bn (4%) decline in European gross sales of beer, wines and spirits in 2022 in keeping with IRI, and until alcohol corporations can revenue extra from Gen Z – they threat many years of managed decline.

Alcohol corporations must get forward of the curve. Again in 2014, I referred to as out non-alcoholic beer as a section with enormous world gross sales potential, primarily based on the evolution of upper high quality non-alcoholic beers in Spain and Germany. In 2014, only one in 25 new beer launches into retail was non-alcoholic, however within the first three months of 2023 this determine has jumped to at least one in ten, in keeping with Mintel GNPD.

Why is Gen Z ingesting much less alcohol?

The explanations are multi-faceted, starting from the detest of “hang-xiety” described by Bella Hadid to a want to really feel higher about themselves and get monetary savings.

However, simply because the prevalence of worldwide smoking amongst youngsters has decreased dramatically because the Nineteen Nineties, alcohol too has misplaced its youthful ‘cool issue’. That is largely as a consequence of hard-hitting authorities adverts warning European youngsters in regards to the risks and embarrassments of binge ingesting, and the robust hyperlink between alcohol and violence.

Gen Z, like all new generations, can also be in search of to outline themselves as what their mother and father are usually not. And plenty of Gen Zs grew up with mother and father that drank to extra.

Not like earlier generations Gen Z don’t have as a lot peer strain to drink alcohol. Picture supply: iStock

Lastly, Gen Z embraces variety excess of earlier youth cohorts. For my Era (X) and older Millennials, there was an enormous quantity of peer strain to drink alcohol. In distinction, Gen Z is extra accepting and respectful of particular person variations and selections.

3 alternatives to focus on a sober curious cohort

Massive alcohol corporations are in a race towards time to evolve into ‘whole beverage’ gamers, somewhat than counting on alcohol income alone. Listed below are three sure-fire methods for them to focus on Gen Z:

1. Goal a greater variety of non-alcoholic need-states

Whereas low/no alcoholic beers are perfect for refreshment and summer time hydration, alcohol corporations ought to have a look at creating non-alcoholic ‘spirits’, ‘cocktails’ and ‘wines’ to focus on different sober Gen Z events reminiscent of enjoyable evenings in, ‘excessive tempo’ nights out and mealtime accompaniments.

2. Calm an anxious cohort

Gen Z has long-struggled with nervousness on account of rising up with their smartphones. Not like earlier generations, Gen Z is consciously selecting to not use alcohol to calm their nerves, and this creates an area for practical non-alcoholic manufacturers.

Firms ought to put money into elements that ship calm, whether or not that be adaptogens, as utilized by Bella Hadid’s Kin Euphorics ‘to handle stress’. Or Sentia, which claims to govern the GABA area of the mind to mimic that first drink of the night time however with out consuming any alcohol.

3. Goal Gen Z with premium alcohol choices

Lastly, alcohol corporations want perspective. Gen Z might spend much less on alcohol however the overwhelming majority of them do nonetheless drink alcohol. As Gen Z’s buying energy will increase, corporations can goal them with ‘high quality over amount’ messaging, and with thrilling innovation which triggers their FOMO, reminiscent of a visible ‘wow issue’ (eg an alcoholic drink with glitter or altering color).

For extra ideas on Gen Z, Mintel purchasers can learn my five-part collection on Gen Z and what they imply for foods and drinks. For non-clients, please go to the Mintel Retailer.


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