Non-alcoholic and light alcoholic beverages
The domestic market of non-alcoholic beverages and light alcoholic beverages seems to experience a rise. In Japan, non-alcoholic beverages came under the light during the Covid-19 pandemic period as most of local governments started to impose restrictions to restaurants and bars that offer ‘alcoholic’ beverages. Non-alcoholic and light alcoholic beverages were somehow considered to be out of the loophole of these regulations. Thus, these drinks recently came to draw more attention.
Non-alcoholic and light alcoholic beverages in Japan
Non-alcoholic beverages are defined as beverages that have alcohol flavours but with less than 1 % of alcohol. Light alcoholic beverages commonly found in market has between 0.5 an 0.7 % of alcohol. Under different names, non-alcoholic and light alcoholic beverages, both fall into the categorization of ‘Non-alcoholic beverages’ for taxation purposes. However, this slight different may cause serious danger to people who have allergies or anaphylaxis against alcohol substances, so they have different descriptions on package, non-alcoholic beverages for 0.00% alcohol content, and others as light alcoholic beverages.
New trend of Sober Curious
Interestingly enough, non-alcohol beverages started to become popular when the driving restrictions were enhanced in Japan. The society directed to the zero tolerance to the drink driving, so people felt they wanted to drink but were not allowed to drink if driving. These people (reluctantly) drank non-alcoholic beverages in place of real alcoholic beverages. The reasons to consume non-alcoholic beverages were therefore, rather negative to substitute the real alcoholic beverages.
Recently, the reasons to consume non-alcoholic beverages have drastically evolved. Consumers positively choose to drink non-alcoholic beverages because they match their tastes and consider them unharmful for health. A new life style without alcohol is often known as ‘sober curious’ and it is now becoming a trend. People who priorly drank alcoholic beverages came to practice a sober curious life style. The existence of tasty non-alcoholic beverages definitely helped the shift of their life style.
Alcohol producers and their approach to the market of non-alcoholic beverages
Among the population of age between 20s and 60s, about 80 million, approximately half of them, 40 million have a habit of casual drinking. The number includes the population with sober curious mentalities (meaning, they can take in alcohol but do not have a habit of drinking it). Companies are developing products to expand the market for sober curious populations, and non-drinkers.
Sake producers aggressively expand into unconventional market. For instance, there appeared a bar where customers can decide on the degree of alcohol in their drinks. With unique ideas and efforts, Sake companies try hard to incorporate the needs of both drinkers and non-drinkers.
We looked at the increasing market of the non-alcoholic beverages. The Covid pandemic has changed our eating and drinking habits. Some started to practice a more healthy life style with and without alcoholic beverages. The market of non-alcoholic beverages gained more attention and now considered as a well-established genre of beverages. Let us keep an eye on the development of non-alcoholic market. They could be exported overseas and get even more popular!
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