Many think of beer as a high-calorie drink which is likely to give you a beer belly. The move towards healthier lifestyles has meant that beer manufacturers are urged to fight this perception and come up with low-calorie options.

The market for ‘light’ beers has improved

In 2017 Bud Light re-entered the UK market 16 years after the US brand’s previous ill-fated launch. As well as having 27 calories per 100ml, Bud Light has a lower ABV than standard Budweiser at just 3.5%. The brand claims that the re-launch has been successful so far in attracting a younger audience.

However, some consumers perceive low-alcohol beer as lacking taste and quality. This attitude leads innovation in the sector towards reducing calories without lowering alcohol content. In 2016, UK-based Skinny Brands unveiled Skinny Lager, a low-calorie beer made using a special brewing process which removes residual sugars from the drink. At 4% ABV, it is not low in alcohol but has a very low carbohydrate content – 2.97g for 330ml. With sugar being food and drink villain number one, the beer is likely to be increasingly well-received.

Over a third (35%) of UK consumers associate “healthy” with “low calorie” according to GlobalData’s 2017 Q4 survey. However, this rises to 49%, when looking at the 35-44 year-old specifically, and is slightly higher for female than male consumers. With a calorie count per bottle of just 89, Skinny Lager is bound to attract health-conscious consumers, especially among the aforementioned age group.

Gluten-free and vegan claims have become more common in beer

Skinny Lager also boasts gluten-free and vegan-friendly ingredients and it is not alone – a spate of craft beers have claimed such credentials recently. According to GlobalData’s primary research in Q1 2017, 3% of UK consumers say they follow a vegan diet, rising to 10% for the age group 25-34. This highlights millennials as the consumer groups on the lookout for certified vegan products.

The same age group is also more likely to opt for gluten-free products. 8% of consumers in the UK aged between 18 and 34 associate “gluten-free” with “healthy” according to GlobalData’s Q4 2017 survey. This compares to a lower ratio of 5% when looking across all age groups in UK. Low-calorie, vegan and gluten-free, rather than low alcohol content, are set to be winning attributes for beer targeting young adults.

For more insight and data, visit the GlobalData Report Store – Drinks Insight Network is part of GlobalData Plc.