January blues on booze, meats it’s match

Oh Christmas, where did you go? Like a breath of wind through the trees and the distance sounds of a babbling brook. For it feels an aching eternity since those halcyon days where double cream on your cornflakes, prosecco for lunch and basically anything you could fit in your gob from then onwards seemed a perfectly normal way for an adult human to live their life. Now alas, we are knee deep in January and for many who are choosing to abstain from something this month, you’re either revelling in your self-righteousness, crawling on your hands and knees to the finish line or you bravely admitted defeat many days ago. 

No alcohol, no meat, no dairy, no chocolate, no fun, etc. 1 in 4 of us are giving ‘something up’ this January, with the most popular abstentions being Dry January (8%) and Veganuary (7%). Both of which appear to have captured the imagination of consumers and brands alike. Interestingly when you look at the age breakdowns you can see that both of these ‘…anuary’s’ are more popular with the under 35’s – with 11% of them supporting Dry January and 16% doing Veganuary. Social media has played a significant role in driving the message and engagement but it’s interesting to see the knock-on impact this is having on both brands and retailers this year.

Here’s a fantastic example of brand/retailer merchandising for Dry January in my local Sainsbury’s.

We’re also seeing a major drive from many of the major alcohol brands. Heineken and San Miguel for example have been heavily promoting their 0% ABV products over this period – with both doing sample give-aways.

Heineken 0% ABV sample giveaway at Manchester Central Station

Even if you’re not going ‘full January’, there is still a continued trend of consumer looking to cut-down this month, with many seeing it as the start of a healthier way of life rather than a one-off. For example, 17% are looking to reduce their alcohol consumption this year, 17% are looking to reduce their meat consumption and 10% are looking to reduce their dairy consumption.

The reduction of alcohol consumption appears to be an underlying trend which will continue into 2019.  We’ve already seen a lot of brands heavily pushing their low or no alcohol brands in-line with the Dry January theme, as previously mentioned, however we are also seeing consumers looking to cut down on a more sustainable basis going forward this year. 17% tell us that they are going to only drink alcohol on weekends, 12% say that they will only drink alcohol when going out (not when at home) and 10% saying that they will have set ‘alcohol free’ days of the week – i.e. the 4 on and 3 off method.

The demand for no or low alcohol options is increasing and it’s an underlying trend which is looking like it will stay (rather than be a fad). Our recent Generation Z report backs this up, with 39% of 18-24-year olds describing themselves as teetotal and 49% of them claiming that would choose to go to the Gym to ‘wind down’ after work rather than the pub.

It’s crucial that retailers and brands are planning for the future behaviours of their customers in order to not only drive footfall but to remain relevant and front-of-mind when shoppers are looking for solutions to meet their evolving lifestyles. Don’t make it a dry January for sales – wake up to the new work generation and deliver against their developing needs.

Blake Gladman

Strategy & Insight Director

Blake Gladman

Hi, I'm Blake, Strategy & Insight Director at KAM. I look after all our research products and manage the collection and delivery of insight throughout KAM. I love long runs and good food (the perfect life balance).