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Dry January sees low- and no-alcohol boost as alcohol spend falls

Dry January helped boost the sale of no-and low drinks in the latest month, Kantar has said, with spending on alcohol falling by more than half compared with December. 

June trumps Dry January with higher alcohol-free drinks sales

According to the retail analysts, almost 6% of beer packs sold this month were no or low-alcohol options – a jump from 4% at the end of last year.

However, Fraser McKevitt head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar said that although health “always comes to the fore as a priority for consumers in January”, this month had not seen as  big a spike in health-related categories such as no and low and plant-based items as in previous years, suggesting that this was more of a longer-term trend.

“People are now buying more of the typical January ‘health kick’ items throughout the year,” he said. “9% of annual own label plant-based sales were made in January in 2023, a steady decline compared with the 11% of sales in 2020.”

Meanwhile, grocery price inflation fell at a slower rate this month, down to 6.8%, down from 6.9% in December, as retailers took “their foot off the promotions gas”. The “softer” decline compares with a 2.2 percentage point decrease seen between November and December 2023, it pointed out.

McKevitt, said that all eyes were back on inflation following the Consumer Prices Index’s (CPI) unexpected jump earlier in the month.

“There’s been a lot of speculation about the impact the Red Sea shipping crisis might have on the cost of goods, but the story in the grocery aisles this January is more about the battle between the supermarkets to offer best value, rather than geopolitics,” he said.

“Retailers have taken their foot off the promotions gas slightly as we’ve come into the new year, and that’s meant inflation hasn’t fallen as quickly.”

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