The appetite for low calorie, gluten free and sustainable beers is growing with almost half of Brits saying they perceive them to be healthier than other beers.
Nine out of 10 Brits said they would like to try a low-calorie beer and there was high awareness with almost two thirds of UK consumers (62%) having heard of them. The most popular brands are Bud Light (54% Brits have tried it), Corrs Light (47%), Heineken Light (42%) and Becks (40%).
The research was conducted by product intelligence business, Vypr, ahead of National Beer Week (15 June 2023).
There’s also a demand for gluten free beers with 45% of Brits surveyed via Vypr’s 65,000 database saying they are aware of these types of beverage. Men aged 25 – 34 are the biggest gluten free beer drinkers while it’s older men (aged 35 – 44) who go for a low calorie option. The most commonly tried gluten free brands are Peroni (38%), Stella (30%) and Skinny Lager (26%).
Less known breweries also featured in the top 10 list with 18% having drunk Kirkstall Breweries Kirkstall Virtuous and a further 18% enjoyed organic, craft beers from Black Isle Brewery.
Low or no alcohol beers also have a high level of appeal with 91% of Brits saying they would be interested in trying one.
It’s the smaller brands that also have good success in the alcohol free section. Despite the top three being international breweries with Heineken (49%), Becks and Peroni (equal second place with 46% of Brits who drink beer saying they have tried), less mainstream breweries have also made it into the top 10 brands. These include Erdinger (12%), Doom Bar (10%) from Sharp’s Brewery, the fully alcohol free product range from Days (9%) and IPAs from Beavertown (9%).
Ben Davies, founder of Vypr, commented: “There is a huge selection of specialist beers available now that will cater for all tastes, as well as allergies and personal preferences for healthier options. It’s interesting that the biggest UK breweries don’t feature any products within this list and it’s the international brands and smaller UK based breweries who are making headway.
“This is an area which will continue to grow and more brands entering this sector will have to compete on price as well as of course having a great tasting product. This means that choice will only get better for consumers and attract more into this once niche area.
“Currently two thirds of UK consumers would not be willing to pay more for gluten free or low which shows that with more competition to drive prices down there is a huge number of beer drinkers who could be attracted to this sector.”
Sustainability is also shown to be a key trend for the beer industry, as with so many other sectors, according to the research from Vypr. Sustainable beer brands have got a high appeal and just over half (52%) of consumers are happy to pay more for a sustainable brand.
Heineken is cited by the majority of consumers (63%) as being a sustainable brand they’ve tried. This is followed by smaller independents – Sierra Nevada (24%), Toast (23%), Freedom Brewery (23%) and Seven Brothers (21%).
The survey was conducted via Vypr’s database of 65,000 consumers which was developed for businesses to understand consumer behaviour quickly.