Woman holding bottle of alcohol free beer

The first of a new series of reports into no and low alcohol drinks was published today (15 January 2024) by Sheffield Addictions Research Group.

‘No- and low-alcohol drinks in Great Britain: Monitoring report’ was produced as part of an NIHR-funded project which explores whether making non-alcoholic or low-alcohol drinks more available and popular in Great Britain can improve people’s health.

The report draws on our analyses of commercial market research data along with our own survey data to provide a detailed description of the no/lo drinks market in Britain, who drinks these products and how that is changing over time.

It also offers insights into key topics including pricing, market concentration and differences between the off-trade and on-trade sectors.

Key findings include:

  • In 2022, one-third of adults consumed no/lo alcohol drinks at least once in the last year, 18 per cent consumed no/lo drinks at least once a month, and 10 per cent at least once a week
  • People drinking at risky levels are more likely to consume no/lo drinks regularly than lighter drinkers or non-drinkers
  • No/lo drinks are more expensive than standard alcoholic beverages – this means health inequalities may widen if people from more deprived households cannot afford them
  • Major alcohol brands dominate the no/lo drinks market and account for 98 per cent of no/lo beer sales in shops

Other findings in the report show the products are increasingly popular in the UK, with sales growing to £221m in 2021, this figure has continued to rise. The government is committed to encouraging this trend as a central part of its public health policies.

The monitoring reports will be produced annually and aim to help the government and health organisations better understand the role the beverages could play in improving public health.

Speaking about the findings on pricing of no/lo drinks, lead author of the report and Director of the Sheffield Addictions Research Group, Professor John Holmes, said: “It’s good to see evidence that risky drinkers are trying no/lo alcohol drinks. However, no/lo drinks are often relatively expensive. That’s a problem because alcohol causes the most harm among more deprived groups. If those groups can’t afford no/lo drinks, it might mean we see only small improvements in public health.”

To discuss the findings of the report, or the No/Lo Project, in more detail please contact sarg@sheffield.ac.uk.

Download: Monitoring report
Download: Data tables