Non-alcoholic or low alcohol drinks are beers, ciders, wines, spirits that contain little or no alcohol – we call them no/lo drinks. No/lo drinks are increasingly popular, but we do not know if they improve public health.

Their impact on health depends on several factors including which people drink them, whether they replace or add to the alcohol people usually drink, and whether they cause any wider benefits or harms. For example, adverts for no/lo drinks might also promote normal alcoholic drinks or encourage young people to start drinking earlier.

This NIHR-funded project is examining whether making non-alcoholic or low-alcohol drinks more available and popular in the UK can improve people’s health.

Work packages

The project is split into four work packages (WP):

WP1 will describe what alcohol companies, UK governments and other organisations do to make no/lo drinks more popular and how this changes over time. It will use a wide range of data, including sales figures, company documents, examples of adverts and interviews with key people. It will also examine how no/lo products fit in with the strategies of alcohol businesses, including their efforts to influence alcohol policy.

WP2 will assess whether ongoing efforts to promote no/lo drinks make people buy less alcohol. It will use market research data and a survey. These will tell us which groups of people buy no/lo drinks, whether this affects how many normal alcoholic drinks they buy, what prices they pay and whether this has changed over time.

WP3 aims to understand how no/lo drinks might change drinking and lead to wider benefits and harms. It will use focus groups to explore how no/lo drinks might affect young people and their parents, pregnant women, people trying to reduce their drinking and people with serious alcohol problems. It will also use a survey to investigate whether no/lo drinks help people cut down on alcohol and how people’s beliefs about no/lo drinks influence whether they drink them.

WP4 will examine whether making no/lo drinks more common and popular improves people’s health and reduces inequalities in health across the population. It will use a computer model that estimates how many people die or are admitted to hospital due to alcohol each year. This model will also test how different ways of promoting no/lo policies affect people’s health.

Research team

The study is led by John Holmes, a Professor of Alcohol Policy at the School of Medicine and Population Health at the University of Sheffield. The team includes colleagues from the University of Sheffield, University of Stirling and University College London (UCL), and has worked together for over ten years on research projects examining alcohol consumption and health.

Civil servants, public health charities and members of the public helped us to design this project. During the project, the public will also help to design and test our research materials, and interpret and share our results.


This study is funded by the NIHR Public Health Research programme (NIHR135310). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Monitoring report

‘No- and low-alcohol drinks in Great Britain: Monitoring report’ (published January 2024) summarises key trends in the sales and consumption of no/lo drinks.

The report draws on our analyses of commercial market research data and 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.

Download: Monitoring report
Download: Data tables
(Both revised 04.04.24)

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