Buyer’s Guide to Mindful Drinking 2019

Drinks retailers that have noticed sliding sales of beers, wines and spirits might be inclined to lament the chasteness of those pesky millennial and generation Z consumers. “Why aren’t they binge-drinking like their forebears?” they may ask. “And what, pray tell, is a protein ball?”

It is easy to blame antipathy among younger shoppers for declining volume sales within BWS: two-fifths of Brits aged 18-24 either do not drink or are trying to moderate their alcohol consumption, according to Kantar. However, it is really interesting to note that the largest group of teetotallers in Britain are women aged 50 and above. They account for a third of all people shunning alcohol.

That illustrates just how important it is for retailers to embrace the trend for mindful drinking, as demand is coming from both ends of the spectrum and it is growing each year. When we say mindful drinking, we really mean moderating alcohol consumption. This can take the form of drinking less but drinking better quality, and primarily it focuses on championing low and no-alcohol alternatives.

The craze for mindfulness continues to permeate every facet of British life. Mindful eating is all about chewing slowly and enjoying the taste and texture of every mouthful, rather than just shovelling in food. There is even mindful sex – it involves meditation, sensual stories, massage candles, sex toys, calorie counting and, ahem, fur oil, according to The Sunday Times.

Some of this noise is easy to dismiss, but mindfulness really focuses on making decisions to lead a lifestyle that is better for the wellness of your body and mind. This is important because people are living longer in a digitally enabled world, with reams of educational material on wellness at their fingertips.

People do not want the quality of their long lives to be diminished. The challenge for producers and retailers is to present drinks that are lower in alcohol or free of alcohol, but that also taste great and look great. They really should be presented in environmentally friendly packaging too.

Beers, wines and spirits have always flourished on the back of creating a sense of belonging, serving as the glue that holds social situations together. Now the challenge is to replicate that with high-quality alternatives that remove the harm and hassle from packaging, and benefit shoppers’ health rather than put it at risk, while adding excitement, Instagrammability, personalisation and customisation. If retailers can crack this trend, the sector should enjoy a long and healthy future.

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