Consumers are turning to tea, coffee and energy drinks as they reduce their alcohol intake, Prinova research has shown. 

The report also suggests more consumers – younger ones in particular – would cut back if a wider range of healthy non-alcoholic beverages were available. 

To explore trends in the beverage space, Prinova conducted an online survey of 1,277 physically active consumers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. More than four in ten (42.5%) said they had reduced their alcohol intake over the past three years, compared to just 15% who reported drinking more. Consumers ages 25-34 were the most likely to say they were consuming less alcohol. 

Among those who had cut down on alcohol, most were turning to healthier beverage options including coffee, tea, still water and juices/smoothies, with preferences varying by age, gender and location. Consumers over the age of 65 were five times more likely than average to have increased their consumption of dairy beverages, while alcohol-free beer was more popular with older age groups than Gen Z.

Over a third (35%) of men who had cut down on alcohol were drinking more energy drinks as a result. Energy also emerged as the top wellness benefit sought in healthy beverages, ahead of hydration and post-exercise recovery.

In the cohort who had not reduced their alcohol intake, over half said they would be likely to do so if a wider range of healthy beverages were available. This was particularly true of millennials (64%).

When asked which ingredients they most looked for in healthy drinks, 65% of respondents picked vitamins and 48% chose minerals. Plant protein also scored highly as a desirable beverage ingredient, ahead of both fruit and whey protein. Other purchase drivers for healthy beverages included affordability, natural ingredients, trusted brand and scientifically proven ingredients.

“Consumers are increasingly re-evaluating their relationship with alcohol, whether that means embracing the ‘sober-curious’ trend, or simply moderating their intake,” says James Street, global marketing director, Prinova. “However, our research also suggests that many more would be persuaded do so if they could replace booze with appealing healthy alternatives. Given the scale of this market need, and the increasingly wide range of on-trend functional ingredients available, it’s clear that there are still huge opportunities for innovation in the functional beverage space.”