Lighting up time Demand increases for more refreshing, lighter alternatives

As summer draws near, UK shoppers start thinking about healthier living and lighter options for eating and drinking, which represents a major opportunity for wholesalers and their suppliers.

Radnor Hills have re-designed their Heartsease Farm adult premium soft drinks range with sugar reduced recipes and relaunched their popular Heartsease Farm Premium Pressé range to meet health conscious consumers’ needs for a premium soft drink with low sugar content. Radnor Hills’ new recipes are sweetened with Stevia, an all-natural plant based sweetener that contains almost no calories.

The same demand for lighter, refreshing options applies to consumers’ beer choices, says Toby Lancaster, Category and Shopper Marketing Director at Heineken UK: “Retailers and wholesalers should consider health-conscious shoppers, as well as designated drivers at social events such as BBQ’s, who are keen to moderate their alcohol consumption without compromising on taste. It’s a trend that will continue to grow into the spring and summer, as 50% of consumers are likely to moderate their alcohol consumption throughout the year.”

Stocking packs of alcohol free or low alcohol beer like Heineken 0.0 provides the perfect alternative for health-conscious shoppers looking for great tasting low-calorie, alcohol-free beers.

Richard Caines, Senior Food & Drink Analyst at Mintel, has been tracking the recent rise of low alcohol and no-alcohol drinks:

“Consumers have been cutting back on the amount of alcohol they drink for financial and health reasons and this presents a big opportunity for low-alcohol and non-alcoholic/alcohol-free beers, ciders and wines. But negative taste perceptions, low product visibility and limited promotional support are still holding the market back from realising its full potential.”

Highlighting low calorie content compared to standard-strength alcoholic drinks offers scope for increasing sales to over 55’s in particular.

In another part of the ‘low/no’ arena, Califia Farms, the number one ready-to-drink cold brew brand in the natural channel has extended its coffee leadership with the release of its multi-serve, all-black cold brew, Pure Black Unsweetened Cold Brew Coffee, which is sugar-free and contains only 20 calories per serving.

The Department of Health’s anti-sugar campaign has shaped consumers’ opinions on what constitutes healthy eating, with sugar overtaking fat as the number one health foe. Given widespread mistrust towards artificial sweeteners, natural sweeteners like stevia can play an important role.

And finally, the NHS has been pushing out the message for some time that too much salt can cause raised blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. As a result it’s now widely known that there is salt in everyday foods such as bread, breakfast cereal and ready meals. It remains to be seen how suppliers respond.